The Nativity Stories from Matthew and Luke’s gospels have endured through the centuries, but the way Christmas is celebrated has been dramatically reshaped. In the modern era the story of Christ’s birth has been overshadowed by fanciful tales of Santa, Frosty, and Rudolph. Holiday customs designed to enhance the enjoyment of Christmas have often come to obscure the message of the Savior’s birth. The Christmas season now exists primarily to foster the urge to shop rather than a desire to pause and reflect on the good news of Christ’s coming. Today the Nativity Stories are seldom considered as a whole, and the theological riches of these sacred texts have regrettably been reduced to “The Christmas Story.” The biblical narratives that have inspired poets and artists for centuries warrant more careful study.
Shivering Babe, Glorious Lord surveys the Nativity Stories through twenty centuries of Christian tradition: their composition by Matthew and Luke; their relationship to the larger biblical narrative; their profound influence on theology and worship; their modern decline and the reemergence of Christmas in a secular guise in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Readers yearning for a more Christ-centered Christmas will find helpful resources here.