Is it possible to understand Christmas more meaningfully through the contrasts it creates and we create? While some contrasts of Christmas are troubling, others are comforting. The poems in this book juxtapose some of these. Some are contrasts of the past and present, and others are contrasts within past and present time. They evoke vivid images, many of which we know well. Some are pleasant and others are disturbing. How do we deal with the reality of many of these contrasts that emphasize our failure to grasp the meaning of Christmas in such a way that we live out the message of peace and goodwill? The Advent and Christmas seasons are seasons of hope and failure. The hope of peace and goodwill inaugurated in the birth of the Christ Child are contrasted with the failure of his followers to bring to realization the peace and goodwill of which the angels sing. Is it possible that a careful look at the contrasts of Christmas can help us better understand its meaning, and how its meaning can be fulfilled in humankind? This is what is explored in this book of poems.
S T Kimbrough, Jr. holds a PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary and is currently a research fellow of the Center for Studies in the Wesleyan Tradition at Duke Divinity School. He has taught on leading theological faculties in Europe (Bonn University, Germany) and the USA (Princeton, New Brunswick, Wesley [Washington, DC], and Drew University. He has published numerous books with Wipf and Stock, including more than a dozen books of poetry.
This Advent season, savor poignant and powerful contrasts set to poetic verse by S T Kimbrough, Jr. These poems sing out contrasts of silence alongside the angels’ song, contrasts of Christ’s birth and every child’s birth, contrasts of Palestine and Bethlehem past and present. Kimbrough’s rhythmic words will lead you “to sing a new song of the contrasts of Christmas!Priscilla Pope-Levison, Perkins School of Theology, SMU
Though the paradoxes of faith are evident during any season of the Christian year, it is perhaps in our preparations for and celebration of Christmas that these are most apparent. Contrasts of abundance and scarcity, togetherness and isolation, and contentment and misery coexist. Christmas Contrasts explores these paradoxes in a way that enhances our understanding of the Incarnation—the one who saves us (Jesus) and abides with us (Emmanuel).C. Michael Hawn University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Church Music Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas
S T Kimbrough, Jr., has created a thoughtful book of contrasts. Consider his words: “Imagine that in Palestine/in this Child peace, goodwill combine/with love for all of humankind—all this in Palestine to find. “ They are a contrast to the current violence in the Middle East and elsewhere. They challenge us to think through our faith. Read these poems and be inspired to make a hope-filled difference in the world.Lim Swee Hong 林瑞峰 Deer Park Associate Professor of Sacred Music Emmanuel College of Victoria University in the University of Toronto, Canada