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December’s Life and Work looks towards Christmas

Next month’s issue of the Church’s Life and Work magazine features some of the seasonal art treasures available in Scotland’s Galleries, and profiles Graham Kendrick and Charles Wesley, who have both composed hymns for Christmas.

Scotland’s Christian art treasures

The seasonal art treasures on our doorstep held within the collections of the National Galleries of Scotland are highlighted this month. The Galleries’ depictions of the Nativity include The Virgin and Child with the Infant Saint John the Baptist by the Florentine School; The Nativity by William Bell Scott and The Virgin Adoring the Sleeping Christ Child by Sandro Botticelli. Reflecting on Scotland’s place in the art world, NGS Director-General John Leighton believes Scotland is “punching above its weight” and emphasises the importance of Scotland’s presence in the international art scene.

Shining a light

Composer and hymn writer Graham Kendrick is the subject of this month’s profile and offers a new spin on the traditional Christmas story in a new Christmas record ‘Dreaming of a Holy Night’.

“There is so much nostalgia and tradition in Christmas, and that’s all very nice, but I like to dig a little deeper and help people to see it from a fresh angle.

“For example, one song, called Reckless Love, is reflecting on what kind of risk was God taking in the Son of God being incarnated as a baby in that kind of situation – high infant mortality, poverty and anger, Herod and so on. It certainly seems to be something of a risk God was taking. There aren’t any definitive answers to that, but it’s something that intrigues me.”

The magic of Wesley

The 300th anniversary of the birth of Charles Wesley is celebrated this month. Wesley, brother of the man commonly regarded as the founder of Methodism, was responsible for some of the best-loved songs of Advent and Christmas, including the famous carol ‘Hark! The herald angels sing’. His life and contribution to the music of the Christian church is explored in a feature by Ian Bradley.

• Full story at the Church of Scotland.

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