A retired elder who focuses on using the arts to communicate theology has published a Christmas book entitled “O Night Divine: Celebrating Christmas Eve in Home, Church, and Imagination.”
The book by Rev. John Scott of Erie is a collection of original stories, narrative poems, and a song that celebrates the mystery, wonder, awe, and joy of the birth of Christ.
Scott said the collection is “ideal for Christmas worship services,” with some of the stories created specifically for a Christmas Eve Candlelight Service. He emphasized, though, that the book is not just for worship, but makes “a nice gift to yourself, to clergy, shut-ins, and anyone who would like to enrich the Christmas Season with story and song about Christ’s birth.”
In his more than 40 years of ministry, Scott served at churches in Pittsburgh, Boston, Irwin, Dempseytown, and a Meadville (Grace UMC) before retiring in 2003. After retiring, he served 10th Street UMC in Erie until 2011 and more recently was pastor of the Little Cooley/Teepleville charge from 2015-2017. He currently co-leads an adult Sunday School class at First UMC in Erie.
A student of oral tradition cultures, he leads storytelling programs, with audiences he says have ranged from 1600 adults to one cat (who was very attentive). He also leads “God at the Movies” programs that lift up theological themes in Hollywood films.
In recommending the book, Bishop William Boyd Grove called Scott “one of the Stewards of the Mystery of Christmas.” He put it this way:
“Christmas is a Story and God is the Storyteller. But through the centuries since that first Christmas night when the Story first was told, God has called others to help tell the Story,” he said. “Those persons have understood the Story deeply in their souls and they have passed it on. They are poets and painters, singers and dancers; they are storytellers; they are stewards of the Story. John Scott is one of these.
“As you read this little book you will meet the wonderful characters of Christmas. Some you will meet whom you have never met before. And you will be grateful that you have met John Scott, one of the stewards of the Mystery of Christmas.”