Table Of Contents
December 2021
Volume 65, Number 9
December
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About This Issue
The Gospels are silent about most of Jesus’ life on earth. Perhaps no time of year are we more aware of that than during Advent, when perennial questions resurface: When exactly did those Magi visit? What was Christ’s childhood like? His education? Did his family live in relative comfort, or in penury? At the center of all these questions is the void in what we know about Joseph. But what little information we do have offers a lot to explore. Our stories this month reexamine Joseph’s spirituality and the trade he passed on to his son. PLUS: Why there’s still plenty of Christ in Christmas.
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Features

Joseph’s Simplicity Was Actually Spiritual Maturity
God entrusted his only Son to a man who could not provide as his culture expected.
My Boss Is a Jewish Construction Worker
Our popular imagining of Christ as a woodworker obscures a richer story.
Finding the Signatures of Bible Kings, Ancient Villains, and More
Wet sifting brings us closer than ever to the world of Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Hezekiah.
If a Social Issue Matters to God, the Church Should Be Praying About It
Too often, our practices of intercession are thin to nonexistent. The Reformed tradition shows us how to revive them.
No One Took Christ Out of Christmas
Let’s dispense with our worries that Christmas as we know it isn’t Christian.
I Used to Run with Drug Addicts and Prostitutes. Now I Share the Gospel with Them.
My journey from life on the streets to life in Christ.

Views

Visitors to Those in Prison Are Getting Screened Out
Video calls can supplement but should never supplant visits with incarcerated people.
This Christmas, Hold on to the Right Things
Keeping a loose grip on people and possessions makes us more hopeful.
In 2022, Let’s Take T.S. Eliot’s Advice
The poet said Christian institutions and community needed refreshing. They still do.
Old Testament Israel Can Do No Wrong. Except When It Can’t Do Anything Right.
What a pair of seemingly contradictory psalms teaches us about telling the church’s story.
Why I’m Losing My Millennium
Whether or not this is the apocalypse, there are more important things afoot.

Reviews

Disowning ‘Evangelical’ Is a Denial of Responsibility
If our movement is carrying reputational baggage, then we have no choice but to own it.
5 Ways Nonbelievers Are Drawn to God Without Knowing It
How the Bible’s doctrine of humanity gives us hope for reaching even the hardest of hearts.
New & Noteworthy Fiction
Chosen by Lisa Wingate, author of “The Book of Lost Friends” and “Before We Were Yours.”
A Requiem for the Disappearing Christians of Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and Gaza
Their plight moved a (mostly prayerless) war correspondent to prayer and mourning.
5 Books on the History of Christmas
Chosen by Gerry Bowler, author of “Christmas in the Crosshairs: Two Thousand Years of Denouncing and Defending the World’s Most Celebrated Holiday.”

News

D Is for Discipleship. E Is for Eschaton.
It’s a new golden age of children’s books filled to the brim with theology—and imagination.
All I Want for Christmas Is a Song that Mentions Jesus
Most-played hits around the world celebrate love, snow, and chestnuts before getting around to Christ.
December 2021: Gleanings
News of Christians around the world.
The Secret to Deradicalizing Militants Might be Found in Middle Eastern Churches
A bold new thesis proposed in extremist studies is based in testimony of Middle Eastern Christian pastors.
We’ve No Less Days to Sing God’s Praise, But New Worship Songs Only Last a Few Years
A study finds an increasingly rapid turnover time for church music.

More from this Issue

Our December Issue: When God’s Word is Silent
The Gospels don’t tell us what we don’t need to know.
Why We Put Christ Above Clicks
The marketplace rewards scorn. CT has always sought a better way.
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Responses to our October issue.