Christmas is getting closer and I thought some might be interested in this series of Christmas articles I wrote back in 2010. In “Christmas Cardology” I look at the events and theology of Jesus’ birth as depicted in illustrations typically found on Christmas cards and in traditional religious art, and I compare these images with the Nativity recorded in Matthew’s and Luke’s Gospels.
Here are links and summaries of the seven parts of “Christmas Cardology”:
Please read this very short introduction first. [250 words]
(2) Scandal and Favour
Christmas card illustrations frequently depict scenes of snug security and domestic comfort. These images are in contrast to Mary’s scandalous predicament of being pregnant and unmarried. Her situation was full of uncertainties and risk. [600 words]
(3) From Nazareth to Bethlehem
Christmas cards often show Mary and Joseph looking like lonely figures, with Mary sitting on a donkey being led by Joseph. Did Mary and Joseph make the 100km trip to Bethlehem alone? The trip would have been arduous for a heavily pregnant woman. Was Mary always the image of piety and serenity as depicted on Christmas cards and in religious? [350 words]
(4) Born in a Barn?
Christmas cards often show the newborn Jesus surrounded by farm animals. Was this really the case? And what is the significance of the “manger” mentioned three times in Luke chapter 2? [800 words]
(5) Jesus’ Birthday
Most Christmas cards indicate that Jesus was born at the time of the winter solstice, and they often incorporate elements of pagan mid-winter celebrations in their illustrations. Was Jesus born on the 25th of December at the time of the winter solstice? Or could he have been born at the time of Spring lambing, or even during the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles? [1000 words]
(6) The Virgin Mary
Most religious art portrays Mary as serene, shy, somber and even sad. Was Mary really like this? And, did Mary remain a virgin forever? [800 words]
(7) The Wise Men from the East
Who were the wise men from the east who worshipped the Christ child? Why were they compelled to make the long journey to worship the King of the Jews? [1000 words]
Plus, here are two other articles I wrote for past Christmases: