Tag Archives: Christmas

Christmas a Pagan Celebration? What You Know May Not Be So

Hat tip to Stephen Huebscher for this one!

Here’s a link to an interesting short essay on this topic. The author argues (with some justification) that rather than Christians adapting a pagan holiday to their sacred calendar, pagans co-opted December 25 from Christians. Here’s a teaser paragraph:

It is true that the first evidence of Christians celebrating December 25th as the date of the Lord’s nativity comes from Rome some years after Aurelian, in A.D. 336, but there is evidence from both the Greek East and the Latin West that Christians attempted to figure out the date of Christ’s birth long before they began to celebrate it liturgically, even in the second and third centuries. The evidence indicates, in fact, that the attribution of the date of December 25th was a by-product of attempts to determine when to celebrate his death and resurrection.

I’m considering devoting an episode of the Naked Bible Podcast to this topic. I’m reading through the only two academic books on Christmas origins I know of. We’ll see if I get through the material in time.

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UFO Over Jesus’ Head?

UFO Over Jesus’ Head

Lee Speigel By Lee Speigel
The Huffington Post

“We can now anchor the beginning of the UFO phenomenon into real, documented history.”

     The story of Christmas began when three wise men saw something strange in the sky and decided to investigate.

Anyone who’s seen a UFO can easily relate to what those wise men might have been thinking, and that’s what makes the images in these paintings so compelling.

Many unusual aerial objects depicted in paintings between the 14th to the early 18th century look, at first glance, like modern-day UFO sightings.

It’s easy to wonder why artists of those long-ago centuries seemed obsessed with including these curious objects in scenes surrounding the stories of the birth and death of Jesus Christ.

The first example (above) here is a wall mural, or fresco, from 1350, “The Crucifixion,” artist unknown, in the Visoki Decani Monestary in Kosovo, Yugoslavia. Two odd-looking objects with “pilots” can be seen in the sky on both sides of Jesus. […]

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More UK schools add aliens to their nativity plays

Last year we reported on a couple of UK elementary schools that had added aliens to their yearly Christmas nativity plays. The trend has apparently continued, and according to the UK news website Daily Mail Online, nearly half of UK schools have chosen to run an “updated nativity” that includes aliens, fairies, footballers, drunk spacemen and/or Elvis.

Children from the William Stukeley Primary School in Holbeach will be conducting “Christmas with the aliens” for the second year in a row. In the play, an alien spacecraft crashes to the earth during the holiday season. They are curious about what Christmas is and children explain it to them using song and dance.

Children at William Stukeley Primary School in Spalding take a break from nativity rehearsals. (Credit: Spalding Today)

Children at William Stukeley Primary School in Spalding take a break from nativity rehearsals. (Credit: Spalding Today)

This is the same play that other schools performed last year. Although the aliens look different from school to school, the general theme seems to be the same.

Students at Burrington Primary School performing "Christmas With the Aliens" in 2013. (Credit: Burrington Primary School)

Students at Burrington Primary School performing “Christmas With the Aliens” in 2013. (Credit: Burrington Primary School)

The recent story from Daily Mail Online sites a study on the changes nativity plays are undergoing. They say that only 32% of UK schools hold a traditional nativity play, while 47% opt for an “updated nativity.”

12% put on a play that avoids religious references altogether. 7% of schools don’t even use the words Christmas or nativity in their title. Instead, they use titles such as “Winter Celebration,” “Seasonal Play,” or “End of Year Concert.”

The survey was conducted by the parenting website Netmums. Parents in the survey were largely concerned with the changes, and most said they preferred a traditional nativity play.

Netmums co-founder Siobhan Freegard told Daily Mail Online:

While the UK is a diverse and multicultural society and it’s right children learn about all religions and cultures, many parents feel the traditional nativity is being pushed aside.

It seems wrong to bombard kids with commercial messages about presents and Santa without them realising the true meaning of the celebration.

Teachers have argued in the past that the addition of aliens into nativity plays is part of an effort to reengage the students, and to get them excited about education.


Students at Minster School in York performed a nativity in 2013 with aliens called the “light people.” (Credit: York Press)

Last year, Minister School pre-prep department head Jane Donaldson told the York Press: “There’s huge excitement in the department. The reception class – who play the [aliens] – even do an alien dance to Star Man by David Bowie.”

Holiday plays are not the only school events that aliens have invaded in the UK. There has also been a trend towards staging UFO crashes and having the students investigate and write about their findings. Often these UFO crashed are staged with local law enforcement.

The post More UK schools add aliens to their nativity plays appeared first on Openminds.tv.

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