Screen Shot 2016 12 05 at 3.02.21 PM 300x253 Some Christmas Reading from Touchstone

Calculating Christmas
The Story Behind December 25
by William J. Tighe

Many Christians think that Christians celebrate Christ’s birth on December 25th because the church fathers appropriated the date of a pagan festival. Almost no one minds, except for a few groups on the fringes of American Evangelicalism, who seem to think that this makes Christmas itself a pagan festival. But it is perhaps interesting to know that the choice of December 25th is the result of attempts among the earliest Christians to figure out the date of Jesus’ birth based on calendrical calculations that had nothing to do with pagan festivals. . .

God Rest Ye Merry
On Celebrating the Darker Meaning of Christmas by Wilfred M. McClay

. . . This year, somehow it’s been “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” that has stuck in my brain, and particularly these words, in the first verse: “To save us all from Satan’s power/ When we were gone astray.” We move through these sibilant words so quickly and rhythmically. I know I always have. And yet how plainly those few words sketch in a somber background, a whole universe of presuppositions without which the song has a very different, and diminished, meaning. . . .

Love Came Down
Anthony Esolen on Christian Hymns

One of the few columns of a Christian culture that still stands in the secular city is Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Everyone knows, or supposes, that Scrooge’s problem was greed, and that Bob Cratchit’s problem was poverty. Everyone knows, or supposes, that the whole aim of the three Ghosts of Christmas was to loosen up Scrooge’s claw-hold on his purse, so that he might give a little to Bob Cratchit and his struggling family. That’s why the strangely unpleasant film Scrooge ends with Albert Finney, a miser turned prodigal, shoveling out coins everywhere, looking like that old confidence man Santa Claus, with a jollity approaching the manic. But Dickens’ novel is not centrally about increasing your charitable donations. It is about the coming to life of a dead soul. There is an Easter in his Christmas. “I am quite a baby,” says Scrooge the reborn, on that Christmas morning. . . .

Yes, Aquinas, There Is a Santa Claus
Nathan Schlueter on a Disputation in the Scholastic Tradition

Fifth Article: Whether the Practice of the Santa Claus Tradition is Permissible according to the Christian Faith? We proceed thus to the Fifth Article . . .