Candler DVD Unites Christmas Scripture, Art and Scholarship


Candler School of Theology at Emory University has released 'A Thrill of Hope: The Christmas Story in Word and Art,' a new DVD presentation that blends the school’s spectacular collection of the art of John August Swanson with the well-known biblical narrative of the Christmas story.
The 50-minute DVD presents the familiar story of Christmas as told in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew. There are six 7-minute sections, or “chapters,” each featuring a passage of scripture from the Christmas story and a work from Swanson's six-paneled "Birth Narrative" depicting the events surrounding the birth of Jesus: The Annunciation to Mary, The Nativity, The Shepherds, Epiphany, Presentation in the Temple, and the Flight into Egypt. In each chapter, members of Candler's esteemed faculty offer their insights into the scripture and the intersection of story and art.
“We knew that some of the most beautiful and impressive pieces in the Swanson collection here at Candler were the six panels that portray the biblical story of the birth of Jesus,” said the Rev. Dr. Thomas G. Long, Candler's Bandy professor of preaching and the originator of the project. “Then we came up with the idea that it would be a good expression of Candler's mission to use our resources—this art, the expertise of our biblical faculty—to re-tell the Christmas story in a way that would be both inspiring and educational.”
Designed for use in Sunday school classes, Bible studies, and other church group gatherings, the DVD is accompanied by a participant study guide with suggested discussion questions, making it ideal for group Bible studies during Advent.
Long said the DVD offers a number of benefits to viewers.
“First, they will simply be moved once again by this great biblical story,” he noted. “Second, because of John Swanson's artist’s eye, they will see the story in a new way. Third, because of the probing insights of Candler's biblical scholars, they will learn new things about this old narrative.”
A Thrill of Hope sets including the DVD and 5 participant discussion guides are available for $30. To order the DVD or watch a video preview, visit