Calvin Miller is a professor in preaching and pastoral ministry at Samford University's Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama. He previously served as pastor of Westside Baptist Church, Omaha, Nebraska. He is the author of more than 40 books and numerous articles on religion and preaching. His newest nonfiction book is called The Christ of Christmas: Readings for Advent.

What was Christmas like in your home growing up?

The Great Depression was over in most of the United States in 1931, but in Oklahoma it lasted until 1936, when I was born. So we were poor. One of the greatest attributes of my mother is that we never guessed we were poor.

I can remember at every Christmas, without fail, Mama read us a little book that she'd bought at a drugstore in Indian territory. It was A Christmas Carol. When she'd read it, she created such empathy as she read that story that we always felt sorry for the Cratchetts because they didn't have anything but a goose. We never even had a goose. That's a tribute to a great set of parents who created a sense of abundance at this time of year.

As you grew up, what Christmas traditions did you try to establish?

I moved to Omaha, Nebraska, in 1966, to begin a church. It was in a pocket of the country that's fairly non-evangelical. So I began by saying, "What are all the Lutherans and Catholics doing in Omaha? How do they do it?"

I've always believed that if you're starting a church, your neighborhood should to some degree determine the kind of church you start. Your programs should meet local needs. So I started studying Lutheran and Catholic catechisms.

Particularly at Christmas, I began to feel like they really had something going right at Advent. My children were little at the time, so we started ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

The Dick Staub Interview
Dick Staub was host of a eponymous daily radio show on Seattle's KGNW and is the author of Too Christian, Too Pagan and The Culturally Savvy Christian. He currently runs The Kindlings, an effort to rekindle the creative, intellectual, and spiritual legacy of Christians in culture. His interviews appeared weekly on our site from 2002 to 2004.
Previous The Dick Staub Interview Columns:
July/August
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Tags:
Read These Next
Current IssueHow to Find Hope in the Humanless Economy
How to Find Hope in the Humanless Economy Subscriber Access Only
Robots could take half of our jobs in the next decade. Here’s why Christians have nothing to fear.
Recommended‘Same God’ Standoff: Wheaton College, Suspended Professor Hold Ground, Miroslav Volf Weighs In
‘Same God’ Standoff: Wheaton College, Suspended Professor Hold Ground, Miroslav Volf Weighs In
Debate continues over Larycia Hawkins's explanation (not act) of wearing a hijab during Advent.
TrendingKay Warren: 'We Were in Marital Hell'
Kay Warren: 'We Were in Marital Hell'
Through God's work in our lives, we've beaten the odds that divorce would be the outcome of our ill-advised union.
Editor's PickFinding My ‘True Self’ As a Same-Sex Attracted Woman
Finding My ‘True Self’ As a Same-Sex Attracted Woman
In my young-adult struggle with sexual identity, both legalistic condemnation and progressive license left me floundering.
Christianity Today
Calvin Miller on a Southern Baptist's View of Advent
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

December 2002

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.