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  • Each segment interspersed with Christmas messages from listeners*

INTRO SKETCHEdit

Joe: Yeah, I had to get a fake tree this year, everytime I tried to plug in the real one, it'd mutate to a higher consciousness! Stupid thermodynamics...

Emma: All right, camera's recording, say hi Meat Mutant!!

  • abyssal gurgling*

Emma: *wistful motherly sigh* I wonder when he'll say his first word!

MM: Booooobs.

Joe: D'aww, he takes after his daddy he does! *hearty chortling* Ho ho ho ho.

Emma: Not entirely sure whence that word came, seeing as it doesn't yet have a recognizable nervous system.

Joe: Then he definitely takes after daddy!! Oh, wouldn't you know it, the clock's struck midnight! It's time to open your very first presents, Meat Mutant!

    • We'll surprise each other with the gifts. The gifts should be inadvertently deleterious to Meat Mutant's "health," such that it is

Emma: Aww, he's so embarrassed he's withdrawn into his shell!

Joe: ...It has a shell?

Emma: It does now.

Joe: Sweet dreams, kiddo!!

MM: Boooooooobs.

  • Both of us laugh like at the end of a cheesy Saturday morning cartoon
  • Cheesy 80s sitcom opening theme turns into Heavens Door Ultimate Mix from Sengoku Basara

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnF6ue_8eu4&feature=related (if there's a better more obscure one use that instead)

What about this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iDCPCfh_kw

http://www.youtuberepeat.com/watch/?v=ch-1mn7CQ_o&feature=related

--*--*--

Welcome to the first annual Meat Mutant Christmas Extravagalooza! It's Christmas Meat 2011!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpAx0qyPRMw (JJJ's brilliant "Christmas meat" coinage)

We thought we'd go with something of a variety show feel for our Christmas episodes, and our first segment for the evening is, naturally, the revived segment "JIS of the Week": EXTREME DRAMATIC READING MODE.

JIS: Extreme Dramatic Reading ModeEdit

Joe: NOTE: The following page from Jesus-Is-Savior.com was written this very month.

http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/False%20Religions/Other%20Pagan%20Mumbo-Jumbo/o_christmas_tree.htm

  • spliced with actual clips from the GLEE song under scrutiny, for maximum hilarity*

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHmmQJSb95Q&ob=av2e

  • Emma, you do the dramatic reading, just to change it up! Chew scenery in the name of the LORD J-J-J-Jesus*
  • Joe, What does "chew scenery" mean?

And now, just to spite JIS webmaster David J. StewartEdit

Joe: Here's the rockin' Kirk Franklin gospel song "Jesus Is the Reason," which does nothing but extol Jesus, but Stewart would hate anyway, because any kind of rockin' music is spawned from the bowels of Satan himself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Leeda9X17Y

Some Questions for Each OtherEdit

What's your funniest memory of Christmas?

What do you remember about midnight mass?

What's the worst Christmas present you ever got?

Let's talk about Emma's Nativity play experience!! Good try, you dick.

Jolly Old Saint NickEdit

Saint Nicholas, or Nikalaos of Myra, was a 4th century Greek Bishop of Myra (now in Turkey). It's said that "Nikolaos the Wonderworker" would hand out gifts in secret, such as putting coins in shoes left out for him. The name "Santa Claus" is derived from the Dutch Sinterklaas, itself the result of corruptions creeping into the word Saint Nikolaos through transliterations across various scripts. His feastday is 6 December.

The historical Saint Nicholas is big in Orthodox Christianity and some other denominations, and is revered as the patron saint of a dizzying array of things in much of Europe, including but not limited to sailors, merchants, archers, thieves, and children, as well as patrong saint of many port cities (such as Amsterdam and Liverpool) and of all of Greece. He is often invoked by sailors and seamen in Greece and Italy, and can be interpreted as something of a modern, Christianized Poseidon.

Forensic analysis of his supposed bones/relics in Bari (southeastern Italy) suggests he was 5ft tall with a broken nose (so I guess he looked like Al Pacino).

RelicsEdit

{C}In 1071 Romanus IV, Emperor of the Byzantine Empire, faced Sultan Alp Arslan of the Seljuk Turks in the Battle of Manzikert. The battle ended in humiliating defeat and capture for Romanus. The Byzantines would regain control over Asia Minor during the reign of Alexius I Comnenus. But early in his reign Myra (in Turkey) was overtaken by Islamic invaders. Sailors from Bari in Apulia seized the remains of the saint from his burial church in Myra. Returning to Bari (in Italy), they brought the remains with them and cared for them. There are numerous variations of this account. In some versions those taking the relics are characterized as thieves or pirates, in others they are said to have taken them in response to a vision wherein Saint Nicholas himself appeared and commanded that his relics be moved. Currently at Bari, there are two churches at his shrine, one Roman Catholic and one Orthodox.

According to a local legend, some of his remains were brought by three pilgrims to a church in what is now Nikolausberg in the vicinity of the city of Göttingen, Germany, giving the church and village its name.

It is said that in Myra the relics of Saint Nicholas each year exuded a clear watery liquid which smells like rose water, called manna (or myrrh), which is believed to possess miraculous powers. Up to the present day, a flask of manna is extracted from the tomb of Saint Nicholas every year on 6 December (the Saint's feast day). The myrrh can be obtained in the shop nearby.

In 2009, the Turkish Government announced that it would be formally requesting the return of St Nicholas's bones to Turkey from the Italian government. Turkish authorities have cited the fact that St Nicolas himself wanted to be and actually got buried at his episcopal town. They also state that his remains were illegally removed from his homeland.


LegendsEdit

{C}One of the legends surrounding St Nicholas tells how a terrible famine struck and a malicious butcher lured three little children into his house, where he killed them and cut them up, placing their remains in a barrel to cure, planning to sell them off as ham. Saint Nicholas not only saw through the butcher's horrific crime but also resurrected the three boys from the barrel through prayer. Another version of this story, possibly formed around the eleventh century, claims that the butcher's victims were instead three clerks. A man murdered them, and was advised by his wife to dispose of them by turning them into meat pies. The Saint saw through this and brought the men back to life.

In his most famous exploit, a poor man had three daughters but could not afford a proper dowry for them. This meant that they would remain unmarried and probably have to become prostitutes to earn a living. Hearing of the man's plight, Nicholas went to his house under the cover of night and threw three purses (one for each daughter) filled with gold coins through the window opening into the man's house.

One version has him throwing one purse for three consecutive nights. Another has him throwing the purses over a period of three years, each time one of the daughters came of age. Invariably, the third time the father lies in wait, trying to discover the identity of their benefactor. In one version the father confronts the saint, only to have Saint Nicholas say it is not him he should thank, but God. In another version, Nicholas learns of the man's plan to find him out, and drops the third bag down the chimney instead; a variant holds that one of the daughters had washed her stockings that evening and hung them over the embers to dry, and that the bag of gold fell into the stocking.


The Miracle of Wheat MultiplicationEdit

What a great title for a miracle.

The story goes that during a great famine in Myra, a ship was anchored in the port. The ship was loaded with wheat for the Emperor in Constantinople. Nicholas invited the sailors to unload a part of the wheat to help in time of need. The sailors at first didn'rt want to do this, because the wheat had to be weighed accurately and delivered to the Emperor. Only when Nicholas promised them that they would not be punished for their actions, the sailors agreed. When they arrived later in the capital, they made a surprising find: the weight of the load had not changed, although the wheat removed in Myra was enough for two full years.


Current VenerationEdit

Today, Saint Nicholas is still celebrated as a great gift-giver in several Western European countries. Some say that, in medieval times nuns used the night of 6 December to deposit baskets of food and clothes anonymously at the doorsteps of the needy. According to another source, on 6 December every sailor or ex-sailor of the Low Countries (including the modern countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and parts of northern France and western Germany) would descend to the harbour towns to participate in a church celebration for their patron saint. On the way back they would stop at one of the various Nicholas fairs to buy some hard-to-come-by goods, gifts for their loved ones and little presents for their kiddies. While the real gifts would only be presented at Christmas, the little presents for the children were given right away, courtesy of Saint Nicholas. This and the miracle of him resurrecting the three butchered children made Saint Nicholas a patron saint of children and later students as well.


Pagan RootsEdit

The tradition of Saint Nicholas Day, usually on 6 December is a festival for children in many countries in Europe related to legends of the saint, and particularly his reputation as a bringer of gifts. The American Santa Claus, as well as the Anglo-Canadian and British Father Christmas, derive from these legends.

Since some elements of the Sinterklaas celebration are unrelated to Christianity, there are theories regarding the pagan origins of various customs of the holiday stemming from areas where the Germanic peoples were Christianized and retained elements of their indigenous traditions. Parallels have been drawn between the legend of Sinterklaas and the figure of Odin, a major god amongst the Germanic peoples. Odin is associated with war, battle, victory and death, but also wisdom, magic, poetry, prophecy, and the hunt. Similarities between Sinterklass and Odin include:

  • Sinterklaas rides the roof tops with his white horse (which has had many different names) Odin rides the sky with his gray, eight legged horse Sleipnir.
  • Sinterklaas carries a staff and has mischievous helpers with black faces called Zwarte Pieten; Odin has a spear and black ravens.
    Zwarte Pieten (Black Petes) are servants of Sinterklaas, usually adolescenst with blackfaces and black curly hair, dressed up like a 17-th century page in a colourful dress, often with a lace collar, and donning a feathered cap.

Sinterklaas and his Black Pete usually carry a bag which contains lollies for nice children and a chimney sweep's broom made of willow branches, to spank naughty children. The Zwarte Pieten toss candy around, a tradition supposedly originating in Sint Nicolaas' story of saving three young girls from prostitution by tossing golden coins through their window at night to pay their father's debts.

The oldest explanation for these helpers is that they symbolize Odin's two ravens Hugin and Munin.

  • According to one source, children would place their boots, filled with carrots, straw, or sugar, near the chimney for Odin's flying horse to eat. Odin would then reward those children for their kindness by replacing Sleipnir's food with gifts or lollies.


How to Re-Paganise ChristmasEdit

  • I changed my mind, let's just mention this article and the choicest passages.

Winter Solstice has been celebrated in cultures around the world for thousands of years. This start of the solar year is a celebration of Light and the rebirth of the Sun. In old Europe, it was known as Yule, from the Norse, Jul, meaning wheel.

Today, many people in Western-based cultures refer to this holiday as "Christmas." Yet a look into its origins of Christmas reveals its Pagan roots.

Emperor Aurelian established December 25 as the birthday of the "Invincible Sun" in the third century as part of Roman Winter Solstice celebrations. In 273, the Christian church selected this day to represent the birthday of Jesus, and by 336, this Roman solar feast day was Christianized. January 6, celebrated as Epiphany in Christendom and linked with the visit of the Magi, was originally an Egyptian date for the Winter Solstice.

Most of the customs, lore, symbols, and rituals associated with "Christmas" actually are linked to Winter Solstice celebrations. Pagans today can readily re-Paganize Christmastime and the secular New Year by giving a Pagan spiritual focus to existing holiday customs and by creating new traditions that draw on ancient ways. Here are some ways to do this: Celebrate Yule with a series of rituals, feasts, and other activities.

In most ancient cultures, the celebration lasted more than a day. The ancient Roman Saturnalia festival sometimes went on for a week. Have Winter Solstice Eve and Day be the central focus for your household, and conceptualize other holiday festivities, including New Year's office parties and Christmas visits with Christian relatives, as part of your Solstice celebration. By adopting this perspective, Pagan parents can help their children develop an understanding of the multicultural and interfaith aspects of this holiday time and view "Christmas" as just another form of Solstice. Have gift exchanges and feasts over the course of several days and nights as was done of old. Party hearty on New Year's Eve not just to welcome in the new calendar year, but also to welcome the new solar year.

Adorn the home with sacred herbs and colors. Decorate your home in Druidic holiday colors red, green, and white. Place holly, ivy, evergreen boughs, and pine cones around your home, especially in areas where socializing takes place.

Hang a sprig of mistletoe above a major threshold and leave it there until next Yule as a charm for good luck throughout the year. Have family/household members join together to make or purchase an evergreen wreath. Include holiday herbs in it and then place it on your front door to symbolize the continuity of life and the wheel of the year. If you choose to have a living or a harvested evergreen tree as part of your holiday decorations, call it a Solstice tree and decorate it with Pagan symbols.

Convey love to family, friends, and associates. At the heart of Saturnalia was the custom of family and friends feasting together and exchanging presents. Continue this custom by visiting, entertaining, giving gifts, and sending greetings by mail and/or phone. Consider those who are and/or have been important in your life and share appreciation.

Reclaim Santa Claus as a Pagan Godform. Today's Santa is a folk figure with multicultural roots. He embodies characteristics of Saturn (Roman agricultural god), Cronos (Greek god, also known as Father Time), the Holly King (Celtic god of the dying year), Father Ice/Grandfather Frost (Russian winter god), Thor (Norse sky god who rides the sky in a chariot drawn by goats), Odin/Wotan (Scandinavian/Teutonic All-Father who rides the sky on an eight-legged horse), Frey (Norse fertility god), and the Tomte (a Norse Land Spirit known for giving gifts to children at this time of year). Santa's reindeer can be viewed as forms of Herne, the Celtic Horned God. Decorate your home with Santa images that reflect His Pagan heritage.

Honor the Goddess as Great Mother. Place Pagan Mother Goddess images around your home. You may also want to include one with a Sun child, such as Isis with Horus. Pagan Goddess forms traditionally linked with this time of year include Tonantzin (Native Mexican corn mother), Holda (Teutonic earth goddess of good fortune), Bona Dea (Roman women's goddess of abundance and prophecy), Ops (Roman goddess of plenty), Au Set/Isis (Egyptian/multicultural All Goddess whose worship continued in Christian times under the name Mary), Lucina/St. Lucy(Roman/Swedish goddess/saint of light), and Befana (Italian Witch who gives gifts to children at this season).

Honor the new solar year with light. Do a Solstice Eve ritual in which you meditate in darkness and then welcome the birth of the sun by lighting candles and singing chants and Pagan carols. If you have a indoor fireplace or an outdoor fire circle, burn an oak log as a Yule log and save a bit to start next year's fire. Decorate the inside and/or outside of your home with electric colored lights. Because of the popularity of five pointed stars as holiday symbols, this is a good time to display a pentagram of blue or white lights.

Contribute to the manifestation of more wellness on Planet Earth. Donate food and clothing to poor in your area. Volunteer time at a social service agency. Put up bird feeders and keep them filled throughout the winter to supplement the diets of wild birds. Donate funds and items to non-profit groups, such as Pagan/Wiccan churches and environmental organizations. Meditate for world peace. Work magic for a healthier planet. Make a pledge to do some form of good works in the new solar year.

Whereas the Stewagelical conception of Christmas is roughly, J-J-J-J-J-J-Jesus, am I saved yet?

La BefanaEdit

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Befana

The Epiphany is an important date for the people of Italy. In fact, it is a public holiday. On January 5th, the eve of the Epiphany (the Epiphany celebrates Jesus' incarnation [a quite appropriate word for this particular podcast] as Son of God on Earth; for Western Christians that's when the Magi arrive at Jesus and He is manifested before the Gentiles.), La Befana visits the children of Italy.

Befana is an old witch (broom and all) who stuffs children's socks with lollies if they've been good or coal if they've been bad. Being a good housekeeper, many say she will sweep the floor before she leaves, though seeing as she enters through chimneys most of what she sweeps is probably soot she's tracked in herself. The child's family typically leaves a small glass of wine and a plate with a few morsels of food, often regional or local, for the Befana.

Christian legend had it that Befana was approached by the biblical magi, also known as the Three Wise Men (or the three kings) a few days before the birth of the Infant Jesus. They asked for directions to where the Son of God was, as they had seen his star in the sky, but she did not know. She provided them with shelter for a night, as she was considered the best housekeeper in the village, with the most pleasant home. The magi invited her to join them on the journey to find the baby Jesus, but she declined, stating she was too busy with her housework. Later, La Befana had a change of heart, and tried to search out the astrologers and Jesus. That night she was not able to find them, so to this day, La Befana is searching for the little baby. She leaves all the good children toys and lollies (“caramelle”) or fruit, while the bad children get coal (“carbone”), onions or garlic.

Another Christian legend takes a slightly darker tone as La Befana was an ordinary woman with a child whom she greatly loved. However, her child died, and her resulting grief maddened her. Upon hearing news of Jesus being born, she set out to see him, delusional that he was her son. She eventually met Jesus and presented him with gifts to make him happy. The infant Jesus was delighted, and he gave La Befana a gift in return; she would be the mother of every child in Italy.

Also, popular tradition tells that if one sees La Befana one will receive a thump from her broomstick, as she doesn't wish to be seen. This aspect of the tradition may be designed to keep children in their beds while parents are distributing lollies (or coal) and sweeping the floor on Epiphany Eve.

Here is an Italian nursery rhyme that the children will sing for “La Befana”

La Befana vien di notte
con le scarpe tutte rotte
col cappello alla romana
viva viva la Befana!

Rough Translation

The Befana comes at night
wearing old broken shoes
dressed in Roman (hat) style
long live la Befana!

The origins of La Befana may actually go back farther, to the Roman's pagan festival of Saturnalia, a one or two week festival starting just before the winter solstice. At the end of Saturnalia, Romans would go to the Temple of Juno on the Capitoline Hill to have their augers read by an old crone. Many pagan traditions were incorporated into Christmas celebrations when Christianity became main stream. La Befana was a good substitute for the old woman who read the augers. The saying augur originated with this practice, too, as it was common to wish someone good augers.

The Korea storyEdit

http://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2011/12/20/torching-seouls-christmas-trees-come-on-son/


From www.Forbes. com

Nigam Arora, Contributor

Kim's Kid Would Be Real Nut To Start War Over Korean Christmas Trees

I was earlier alerted by a reader that North Korea may fire missiles on Christmas tree towers in South Korea. Hostilities between the two Koreas are well known.

It is no secret that North Korea does not like Christianity. But in 2011, it is hard to fathom anyone would go to war over Christmas trees. About 30% of South Koreans are Christians, but North Korea is an atheist state where Christianity is seen as a challenge to the leadership.

Here is how the Associated Press characterizes the present situation:

Earlier on Sunday, North Korea’s state-run Uriminzokkiri website said that lighting the first tree was a form of psychological warfare and would trigger an “unexpected consequence.”

South Korea’s military will bolster security near the three trees, located on the western, central and eastern portions of the border, the Defense Ministry official said. The trees will stay lit for 15 days starting Dec. 23.

South Korea stopped illuminating a prominent tower in 2004 at Christmas time. The tower was lit again in 2010.

According to Yonhap, a Korean news agency, the South had planned to light three Christmas tree-shaped towers near the border Friday, a move that prompted North Korea to accuse Seoul of intensifying anti-communist psychological warfare.

Pyongyang also warned of an “unpredictable situation” after the tower’s lighting two days before Christmas Day and said Seoul should bear full responsibility for that potential scenario.

The Defense Minister of South Korea, Kim Kwan-jin said, “I will reconsider the plan because it goes against the current situation.”

The North Koreans take their trees seriously and this is latest Tannenbaum tift is not the first time that firs have been at the forefront of bellicose jawboning across borders.

The easiest way to understand the background is to ask the question, “Is the Christmas tree in your house a Korean fir?”

Korea’s National Institute of Biological Resources thinks so. According to NBIR, Christmas trees in American homes are indigenous to Korea where they grow on the slopes of Mt. Halla, Mt. Jiri, and Mt. Deokyu.

The claim is that the Korean War introduced the Korean fir as a Christmas tree to the U.S. public. Apparently, during the Korean War, American soldiers would gather around Korean fir trees on Christmas day to exchange gifts. When the soldiers returned home, they carried the Korean fir tree with them.

Some claim that the “type specimen” of the Korean fir tree currently in the Smithsonian in the U.S. was stolen by a European botanist in 1904.


THE REST IS MARKET STUFF:

In my ZYX Emerging Markets ETF Alert newsletter that covers 15 emerging markets, I just lowered my medium-term rating on Korea to neutral from buy. Korea was already rated sell in the short-term and long-term.

The reason behind the downgrade is the uncertainty caused by the death of Kim Jong-il, the former dictator of North Korea. His successor is his 28-year old son, Kim Jong-un. Most of the Korean institutions are led by senior generals who served with Kim Jong-un’s grandfather. Will the old generals take orders from the 28-year old?

If North Korea becomes more militaristic, it will be troublesome for North Korea as it will have to spend more on defense. Further, foreign investors will flee South Korea.

If North Korea falls apart, the influx of refugees will cause serious economic issues in South Korea. These new uncertainties added to the slowing global growth makes Korea a potential short sell. Economy of South Korea is heavily export dependent.

Investments of interest are the iShares South Korea Index (EWY), the Korea Fund (KF), and the Korea Equity Fund (KEF). Samsung is perhaps the most well known Korean company, its stock will be hit if the tensions in Korea rise.

The Star of BethlehemEdit

Before we start I’ll acknowledge the source of most of this information as the guy who wrote it seems to have his knickers in a knot about such issues: much of the information we are going to discuss was obtained from Nick Strobel's Astronomy Notes. Go to his site at www.astronomynotes.com to learn more.

We are going to start with the assumption that there was some sort of astronomical event that coincided with the birth of Jaysuz, but many think there wasn’t.

The first reference to the Star of Bethlehem is in the New the book ``Matthew.

Matthew 2:1--2: In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, "Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage."

Matthew 2:7--10: Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage." When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.

Verses 12 & 16 give us some information as to the time of Jesus' birth. Another reference to the time of Jesus' birth is in the second chapter ``Luke. Here are the relevant verses:

Luke 2:1--7: In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Now, just to complicate things, there is a lot of conjecture regarding when The birthday boy was actually born. Many scholars have tried to use text and historical records to pinpoint the actual year of Jesus’ birth. This is very important if we are going to try and work out what was going on in the sky at around this time, as things like the position of planets etc varies from day to day, let alone year to year. I’m not going to bore the shit out of people with all the details, but the historical figures of Herod, Emperor Augustus, and Quirinius were government officials in the Roman Empire around this time so they have historical references with dates attached to them that can used as markers in the timeline. King Herod is also mentioned in the first chapter of Luke in reference to Jesus' cousin John the Baptist who was approximately six months older than Jesus. Despite the differences in birth narratives given by the authors of Matthew and Luke, the fact that they do agree on Jesus being born during the reign of King Herod tells us that Jesus was very likely born sometime between 37--4 B.C.E. Current opinion says the most likely date was that he was born in the few years before 4 BCE.

Conjunction?Edit

In 1614, German astronomer Johannes Kepler determined that a series of three conjunctions of the planets Jupiter and Saturn occurred in the year 7 BC.

A conjunction is when two or more objects appear very close together in the sky. Now even to this day, planets are commonly mistaken for stars be people who don’t know what they are looking at in the night sky, and Venus is colloquially referred to by some as “the morning star”. Pisces is associated with the Jewish people in astrology, so when Jupiter and Saturn (both very bright planets) passed very close to each other three times during the span of several months in 7 B.C.E. it was a notable event. The first conjunction of the 7 B.C.E triple conjunction occurred in late May when the wise men may have started their journey. The second conjunction occurred in late September when they were visiting King Herod and the third conjunction appeared in the south towards Bethlehem in early December after Herod had sent them on their way. Jupiter was the ``star of royalty and luck and Saturn was the star of the Mesopotamian deity who protected Israel. Both of these rare conjunctions (happening once every 800 or 900 years or so) could have been predicted by the ``wise men from the East and could have been interpreted by them that a great king was to be born in Israel. Though Jupiter and Saturn never got close enough together to be confused as a single object, the word ``star may have had a different meaning to the wise men than it does for us today and their definition could have included a planetary conjunction.

These wise men (aka ``Magi) 'were coming from someplace east of Jerusalem. They were probably non-Jewish because they did not know of the prophecy stating that the king of the Jews was to be born in Bethlehem. Later traditions increased the status of the wise men, making them kings, and define the number of them as three, named Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar.

Nova?Edit

Chinese astronomers recorded a new star in the constellation Capricorn in March--April of 5 B.C.E. which was visible for over 70 days. This new star could have been a nova (an exploding white dwarf star). When a nova occurs, the increase to peak brightness is very rapid, within a few days, while the fading away to invisibility usually takes a few months. The new star observed by the Chinese would have appeared in the east several hours before sunrise (remember Matthew 2:2 ``...we observed his star at its rising). However, there is no mention that the star was particularly bright, nor does it seem to have had any significance for anyone other than the Magi. Also, there is also no known supernova remnant, which we would expect to find if there had been a supernova at the birth of Jesus.

Variable starEdit

A British astronomer has recently proposed that the object was actually a real star that can still be seen with telescopes today: a now rather dim object known as DO Aquilae. This is a variable star i.e. one that changes its brightness and which may have experienced a nova outburst in the past.

In the year 5 BC when many scholars believe Jesus was born, a combination of a bright nova and a triple conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation of Pisces was seen. Ancient Chinese astronomers recorded this as an unusually bright star that appeared in the eastern sky for 70 days. This was a rare sight and the Magi may have believed the combination of the two events was a religious sign.

CometEdit

The new star could have been a comet. In the past, comets, like novae, were regarded as heralding important events (though comets usually portended something bad!). Because of the broom-like appearance of comet tails, the Chinese associated comets with ``sweeping away the old order of things. The wise men originally saw the Bethlehem Star in the east and by the time they set out for Bethlehem after visiting King Herod in Jerusalem, they could have seen it in front of them as they headed south. A comet could have travelled from east to south during the 2--4 month journey of the wise men. Comet Halley did make an appearance around that time, but its appearance in 12 B.C.E. is well outside the probable timeframe for the birth of Jesus.


MENTION COMET LOVEJOY: http://spaceweather.com/

Planet in Retrograde MotionEdit

One man proposes that the Bethlehem Star was simply Jupiter passing through a stationary point in its trek across the sky. When a planet undergoes retrograde motion, it makes a backwards loop against the stars. The planet appears to be stationary at each end of the loop for about a week to the naked eye before returning to its usual weast to east motion. Babylonian astronomers had a keen interest in retrograde motions and the wise men may have been at Bethlehem when Jupiter was at a stationary point. In Bulmer-Thomas' theory the 7 B.C.E. triple conjunction and near-conjunction of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn in 6 B.C.E. would have alerted the wise men to look for a further sign in the sky. If they followed Jupiter from the time it emerged from behind the sun in May 5 B.C.E., they would have seen Jupiter pass through a stationary point four months later (about the length of their journey). Howrever, as retrograde motion happens every year, it would be inlikley that this alone would be seen as significant (unless accompanied by another phenomenon such as a conjunction or nova or comet).

Another Star of Bethlehem candidate is Uranus, which passed close to Saturn in 9 BC and Venus in 6 BC. Some consider this to be an unlikely explanation, because Uranus moves very slowly and is barely visible with the naked eye. However, others think these factors actually favor Uranus as a possible explanation. Its faint magnitude and relatively slow motion across the sky suggest that it could have been noticed only by people who were intimately familiar with the heavens, such as the magi. If they did indeed spot Uranus, they likely would have considered it to be a new "wandering star", the discovery of which would have been an unprecedented event. But because Uranus is actually a planet, it can appear to "stop" at a certain point in the sky, as it transitions between periods of retrograde motion.

The planetary-conjunction(s) and stationary-Jupiter theories are probably closer to the truth than the nova or comet theories. The planet theories have the least difficulty in explaining the astronomical phenomena that occurred at Jesus' birth sometime in 7--4 B.C.E.


FictionEdit

A lotta people think it's just made up.

Many scholars, seeing the Gospel Nativity stories as later apologetic accounts created to establish the Messianic status of Jesus, regard the Star of Bethlehem as a pious fiction; there are several aspects of Matthew's account which give reason to doubt that an actual historical event is being portrayed.Why would a star be needed to guide the Magi from Jerusalem, 6 miles down a road, to Bethlehem ?

This is also reminiscent of stories of the recently departed Kim Jong Il's birth. According to official North Korean accounts, he was born in a log cabin at his father's guerrilla base on North Korea's highest mountain, Mt Paektu, in February 1942.

The event was reportedly marked by a double rainbow and a bright star in the sky. The season also suddenyl changed to spring at the moment he was born.

Jesus on the Radio SketchEdit

Let's do a sketch wherein I am Jesus and I call into your radio program on my birthday. (Apparently the Second Coming is just Jesus coming back to bum around on Earth uneventfully. You eventually weedle it out of me that YHWH's finally fed up with me living at home and kicked me out when I'm not exactly at the peak of my majesty.)

IMPROVISED SKETCH, think up of tons of questions to ask me, I'm going to come up with answers in anticipation of your questions

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkeSLBQ3oaA This will amuse you (JESUS WASN'T WHITE so I'm going to do a Middle Eastern accent)

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