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The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston

The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston is senior pastor of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York, NY.

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Presbyterian Church (USA)

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Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York, NY


Dr. Scott Black Johnston: Christmas Stories

December 15, 2010

What are you reading?

Every year, as Christmas approaches, I find myself drawn to various classic (and not-so-classic, but still wonderful) stories that capture the season for me.

I like to read W.H. Auden's "For the Time Being"-a powerful poem written during the dark days of the blitzkrieg in London in World War II.  It contains this breathtaking stanza:

Remembering the stable where for once in our lives
Everything became a You and nothing was an It.

I like to return to Dickens' A Christmas Carol.  Who doesn't?  Whenever I do, though, I am reminded that while this story focuses on the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge, it also speaks of the need for a whole society to transform-a society shackled by poverty and ignorance.

For fun, I have to read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson.  We read it with the kids.  All of us hoot and holler over the tale of a church Christmas pageant gone awry. Although, by the time we are through, we have unfurled a pretty doggone profound story.

A few nights ago, my wife, Amy, pulled out a copy of Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory (1966) and began reading it to the rest of the rowdy Black Johnstons at supper.  It proved to be an amazing tonic.  I had forgotten how beautiful Capote's remembrance is-a perfect piece of writing.

This [past] Sunday, we [read] from Luke's gospel. Luke is my go-to Christmas gospel.  I love the way he invites us to peek in on Elizabeth and Mary-two cousins swept up in a swirl of angel's wings and scary, joyful, world-changing tidings.

What are YOU reading?

Here's hoping that it is preparing your soul for the final leg of the journey to Bethlehem.

[Taken with permission from "Sharp About Your Prayers," the blog by the Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston. Originally posted 12/10/2010]


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