One of the most powerful and lasting ways of keeping time in the ancient world was with stories and traditions. The first Christians were influenced by both the Jewish and Roman calendars. But they soon found that neither could meet their unique needs as the first followers of Christ. So Christians developed their own stories. These narratives, eventually replacing those on the Roman calendar, became the basis of the familiar Christian calendar of today.
But just as Roman observances gave way to Christian stories and celebrations, American culture today is replacing the ancient Christian rhythms of the year with secular ones. Instead of meditating on the birth of Christ during Advent, we count the shopping days left until Christmas. Instead of remembering sacrifice during Lent, we are filled with anxiety over tax forms.
Thankfully, the Chrysostom Society has preserved in these pages original stories of the Christian seasons. Told with a fierce reverence, the stories help us keep track of redeemed time-fixed on ěthe still point of the turning world.
Eugene Peterson was for many years James M. Houston Professor of Spiritual Theology at Regent College. He also served as founding pastor of Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Maryland. A prolific author, he is probably most well known for The Message, his translation of the Bible in the language of today. Now retired from full-time teaching, Eugene and his wife Jan live in the Big Sky Country of rural Montana. - From…