Completion of Christmas: the Nativity of Our Lord…

I’m pleased to announce that our newest book, Christmas: The Nativity of Our Lord in Scripture, Art & Christian Tradition, is now complete. The final text has been sent to my proofreader. I’m hopeful that I can get it into print late this Summer, leaving plenty of time to promote it in time for Christmas A.D. 2022. The book will make a great holiday gift and should grace anyone’s bookshelves and coffee table. It is presented in our 8.5″ x 8.5″ paperback format with coated interior paper for enchancement of the many icons, frescos, engravings and color illumination from Gospel books produced in the 9th through 15th Centuries that both illustrate and bring to life the Nativity story. The cover illustration is a Christ Pantokrator mosaic from the Capella Palatina, Palermo, Sicily. The figure at lower left is St Peter, at lower right is St. Paul, at upper left is the Archangel Michael; and at upper right is the Archangel Gabriel. The photograph is by John Schermann, who graciously provided the high-resolution image.

The final version has 172 pages with color cover front and back, with 112 illustrations from the 6th to the 21st C. The book is organize into five parts. Part One is focused on St. Luke’s pre-Nativity narrative. with text and commentary on Luke 1.. in which Zacharias,his wife Elizabeth, their son John the Baptist and the Blessed Virgin Mary are introduced. The focus of Part Two is St Luke’s Nativity story from Luke 2. Part Three is focused on St. Matthew’s Nativity account (Matthew 2).

Part Four is focused first on the Pre-Nativity period in the final seven days of Advent. with text and images from The Great “O” Antiphons, with one antiphon each for Dec. 18th to Dec. 24th. The antiphons are followed by The Twelve Days of Christmas, with a key word or phrase, with pictures, for Dec. 25th through Jan. 6th.

Part Five is focused on traditions of Christmas. with special emphasis on Prayer Book changes for the season; Gift-giving: “The Real St. Nicholas”, that is, the 4th C. saint Nicholas of Myra; followed by discussion on the influence of Charles Dickens after the publication of A Christmas Carol in 1843; the impact of commercial Christmas cards; the introduction of Christmas Trees and ornaments; endng with discussion of seasonal music, foods and beverages with examples from England, Europe, Canada and the United States. As a special treat for readers I have included an image of and the recipe for my maternal grandmother’s recipe for sugar cookies.

Christmas Book in Progress

Stained glass Nativity window. Image: copyright Waamel| Design: copyright Ronald E. Shibley.
  • Coming this Fall is a new publication celebrating the Birth of Jesus to be published in time for the Christmas season’s gift-giving. The goal is a book of about 100 to 125 pages, with more than 100 illustrations from the artistic traditions of both the Western and Eastern Church. The book will be produced in the 8.5″ x 8.5″ format with glossy color cover front and back with color inside pages on white paper stock. The cover design is not final. The subtitle will be: The Nativity of Our Lord in Scripture, Art & Christian Tradition.
  • Here’s a preview of the organization and the progress as of 5/7/2022 A.D.
    • Preface.  Complete but the details will have to be adjusted to final book content.  Illustrations 1 to 14.
    • Part 1. St. Luke’s pre-Nativity narrative (Luke 1)   Complete.  Illustrations  15 to 26.
    • Part 2.  St. Luke’s Nativity narrative (Luke 2).  Complete.  Illustrations 27 to 37 (with one possible addition).
    • Part 3.  St. Matthew’s Nativity narrative (Matthew 1 & 2).  Complete.  Illustrations 38 to 52 (againl with one possible addition).
    • Part 4.  The Pre- and Post-Nativity Traditions: The  Great “O” Antiphons offices for Dec. 18th to Dec. 24th.  Complete.  Illustrations No. 53 to 67.  The Twelve Days of Christmas with focus on Dec. 25th to Jan. 5th, with a key word or phrase for each day.  In progress.  Illustrations 68 to 73 (as of 5/7).
    • Part 5.  Christmas Traditions Around the World.   In progress.   This section will include a history of the ups and downs of Christmas celebrations in the United States and England, the introduction of Christmas trees, the St. Nicholas tradtion with its many variations, the influence of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, seasonal foods, worship traditions, and music.