live chat
Liturgical Press
Catholic Social Teaching Faith and Justice Ecology Ethics Eucharistic Revival Parish Ministries Liturgical Ministries Preaching and Presiding Parish Leadership Seasonal Resources Worship Resources Sacramental Preparation Ritual Books Music Liturgical Theology The Liturgy of the Church Liturgy and Sacraments Liturgy in History Biblical Spirituality Old Testament Scholarship New Testament Scholarship Wisdom Commentary Catholic Bible Study The Saint John's Bible Ecclesiology and Ecumenism Vatican II at 60 Church and Culture Sacramental Theology Systematic Theology Theology in History Aesthetics and the Arts Prayer Liturgy of the Hours Spirituality Biography/Hagiography Daily Reflections Spiritual Direction/Counseling Benedictine Spirituality Cistercian Rule of Saint Benedict and Other Rules Lectio Divina Monastic Studies Oblates Monasticism in History Thomas Merton Religious Life/Discipleship Give Us This Day Worship The Bible Today Cistercian Studies Quarterly Loose-Leaf Lectionary Bulletins PrayTell Blog
Liturgical Press

The Origins of Christmas

Revised Edition

Joseph F. Kelly

The Origins of Christmas
The Origins of Christmas

ISBN: 9780814648605, 4860

Details: 184 pgs, 5 3/8 x 8 1/4 x 1/2
Publication Date: 10/14/2014

Add to Cart
In Stock

When was Christmas first celebrated? How did December 25 become the date for the feast? How did the Bible's "magi from the East" become three kings named Melchior, Caspar, and Balthasar who rode camels from three different continents to worship the newborn Christ? How did the Feast of the Nativity generate an entire liturgical season from Advent to Candlemas? Why did medieval and Renaissance artists portray Joseph as an old man? When did the first Christmas music appear? And who was the real Saint Nicholas?

These and many other questions are answered in this revised and expanded edition of The Origins of Christmas. The story of the origins of Christmas is not well known, but it is a fascinating tale. It begins when the first Christians had little interest in Christ's Nativity, and it finishes when Christmas had become an integral part of Christian life and Western culture.

The Origins of Christmas covers a variety of topics in a concise and accessible style, and is suitable for group discussions.

Joseph F. Kelly, PhD, chair of the department of theology and religious studies at John Carroll University, is active in adult religious education in the Greater Cleveland area. The World of the Early Christians, The Problem of Evil in the Western Tradition, and History and Heresy are among his nine previous books published by Liturgical Press.


Dr. Kelly has a tremendous breadth of knowledge about the Christmas story, and in this revised and expanded edition of The Origins of Christmas he shares fascinating details about the Nativity, from the prophecies prior to Jesus' birth to the traditions that formed over the many centuries that followed. Scholars and laypeople alike can join with Kelly as he examines a variety of extrabiblical sources, including art and ancient sermons, to paint a more complete picture of the events associated with the world's most popular holiday.
Angie Mosteller; Founder, Celebrating Holidays; Author of Christmas: Celebrating the Christian History of Classic Symbols, Songs and Stories