‘Tis the Season, not Just the Day: A Review of “Celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas” by Chris Marchand

chris marchand bookIt’s a bit of a cliché to observe that the Christmas season seems to be growing longer and longer each year, slowly edging its way into store displays and advertisements before the cold air of winter has even arrived to make heavy jackets truly necessary. Readers of Celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas soon discover, though, that for the Chris Marchand, the problem is more that the very idea of Christmas as a season has fallen by the wayside—a liturgical season, that is. Marchand, an Anglican minister and writer (among other things), has penned this book in order to both delve into the varied traditions of the liturgical season and its feast days and to foster the revival of its celebration by offering readers suggestions for renewing the practices of old in ways that make sense for today. Continue reading

What Does Worship Really Look Like?

forest-cottageWhen it comes to Christian worship, no shortage of images come to mind. Scenes both somber and vibrant. Sounds that can range from choral melodies to enthusiastic folk rhythms, depending on the stream of Christian tradition. All of these can emerge when the Church gathers together for worship—and that’s just in regards to music, much less other worship practices. For me, all of this brings up a larger question: what exactly is worship?

This is a question that has received a variety of responses. Therefore, it isn’t too surprising to find Andrew McGowan explain in Ancient Christian Worship that worship often means different things to different people in many Christian churches today (2014, p.2). For some, it refers to things like “communal prayer and ritual,” while for others it expresses something more like a deeply personal feeling of belief and inward orientation towards life. For still others, worship basically denotes a kind of Christian music (p.2). Continue reading