- Paperback: 72 pages
- Publisher: Augsburg Books (September 1, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0806635770
- ISBN-13: 978-0806635774
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.2 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 18 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #671,276 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Martin Luther's Christmas Book Paperback – September 1, 1997
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German
From the Back Cover
This collection contains thirty excerpts from Martin Luther's Christmas sermons. In his unique and powerful voice, Luther portrays the human reality of God's birth on earth - Mary's distress at giving birth with no midwife or water, Joseph's misgivings, the Wise Men's perplexity, Herod's cunning. And throughout these sermon-meditations, Martin Luther reminds us that keeping Christmas is a year-round mission of caring for those in need. Nine illustrations by Luther's contemporaries - including four by noted engraver Albrecht Durer - capture timeless scenes from the Christmas story. And two of Luther's beautiful Christmas carols are included on the final pages of the book.
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When I purchased the book, I expected the sermons, was delighted by the artistry, and was really surprised by the music. It turns out that Luther wrote many more hymns than his famous `A Mighty Fortress', which is not too surprising, since his dedication to music in services was one of his greatest contributions to the Protestant church, if only through his influence on the world's greatest composer, Bach.
The selection of sermons is but a small sampling of Luther's enormous output, when you consider that he preached for about 30 years, often with three or four sermons a week. When you multiply the six weeks of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, this comes to over 200 sermons just for the Christmas season. Editor Bainton has selected for us the most interesting of all this material and joined it into seven (7) representative sermons for the Annunciation, the Visitation, Nativity, the Shepherds, Herod, the Wise Men, and Presentation.
These sermons should work well with modern thinking, primarily due to Luther's faithfulness to his most important doctrine, being true to the scriptures and only the scriptures. Bainton's introduction describes how Medieval traditions piled an enormous amount of speculation on top of the Christmas story. The scriptures, for example, don't even say there were only three wise men. This is inferred from the three gifts. And, the traditional three names don't appear in the Gospels either, so Luther never uses them. He even goes out of his way to point out that the scripture says nothing about the wise men being `kings' as the popular hymn would have it. Rather, they were simple `professors', probably of astrology, whose star was a conjunction of planets.
Luther even goes further than many modern preachers in pointing out from the pulpit that there are disagreements between the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
This is a great resource for any Christmas worship, especially in those churches which honor Luther's name. To the reviewer who said this is Luther's worst book, I must point out that the book contains barely 1/20 of what Luther wrote on Christmas, and any problems are probably more due to the editor than the Reformer.