Bishop writes book introducing the characters of Christmas

August 28, 2021

The Bishop of St Asaph has written and illustrated a new book telling the stories of all the characters and creatures in the Christmas story.

Published  last week, An Advent Book of Days: Meeting the characters of Christmas includes daily prayers and reflections for Advent based on each character’s experiences.

The Rt Revd Gregory Cameron has created the full colour illustrations for this book, which combines the bible, history, art and legend to explore the story of the incarnation.

Bishop Gregory who is a calligrapher, icon writer and coin designer for the Royal Mint, said: “This book is intended to introduce the stories often in the background of the traditional Christmas crib.

“It was one of the fruits of my sabbatical in 2019, which seems a long time ago now.  I’ve always loved the riches of the Christmas story, and the legends that surround the Biblical accounts.  I’ve tried to share all I’ve learned in this little volume.”

For each day of Advent, the book introduces a character caught up in the drama of the nativity, from the archangel Gabriel to the ox and ass in the stable.

The book unpacks what their portrayal in scripture reveals about them, how they have been understood in history, what folk legends have accrued around them, and what their stories offer for faith and devotion today.

The book is inspired in the style of visio divina the medieval tradition of the illuminated book of hours. It is described by the publishers as “a book to engage all the senses and the imagination, to be enjoyed slowly and to shed new light on the most famous and familiar story of all”.

Bishop Gregory added: “It is my hope that these reflections, whenever they are read, will help us to discover new depths in the Christmas story, to deepen our faith, and perhaps even to learn something new or unexpected; because over two thousand years, the story of Christmas has become filled with unexpected delights arising from Scripture, history, legend and faith.”

Gregory Cameron is Bishop of St Asaph in the Church of Wales. He was formerly a school chaplain, a lecturer in the Old Testament, and chaplain to Rowan Williams when he was Archbishop of Wales.

The Diocese of St Asaph is one of the six dioceses in the Church in Wales, an independent Province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

An Advent Book of Days: Meeting the characters of Christmas is published by Canterbury Press Norwich. Books are available online to support your local bookshop at–Meeting-the-characters-of-Christmas/24946202