The Christ Child

The Christ Child December 21, 2019

Dan McClellan drew my attention to this fascinating short Christmas movie, The Christ Child, with dialogue entirely in Aramaic. The film’s website answers a number of questions, such as this one:

Why was the stable set inside of a home?

In first-century Jerusalem, animals were usually kept inside the house. The stable where Jesus was born may actually have been an interior courtyard or even a cave adjacent to the living quarters. It’s likely that Jesus was born in the stable of a welcoming family home—contrary to the popular depiction of His birth in a cold and secluded hideaway.

On that topic see also Ian Paul’s post, “Does It Matter That Jesus Wasn’t Born In A Stable?”

Since the film was made by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, you will find still more information on their website as well as other sources connected with that tradition. I think it is fascinating to endeavor to make these events seem linguistically, culturally, and historically foreign to people in the modern English-speaking world. It may be impossible to take such a familiar set of stories and truly make them alien in this way, especially when the portrayal is heavily influenced by familiar tradition. But the very concept itself is important and worthwhile, and the result is quite powerful. What do you think of it?

The Church just released ‘The Christ Child’ video. Here are 5 things that set it apart from other versions of the Nativity story

Elsewhere in the spirit of Christmas, I came across a reflection on an important topic, although I think reflection on when Jesus was an embryo should lead to more significant changes to traditional ways of thinking about him.

When Jesus Was an Embryo

Also related to the nativity, Advent, and/or Christmas:

Mary’s Pregnancy and Joseph’s Dream: the Protoevangelium of James Continues

Do you need the Gospels of Matthew and Luke in order to have Christmas?

Memoirs of Mary—Jesus’ Infancy Stories?

Genealogies Contradict in “Matthew” and “Luke”

History or Not? Discrepancies in Jesus’ Birth Stories

Different Jesus Birth Stories

Historical or True?—Jesus Birth Stories

The Subversive Message of the Christian Nativity

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in Cages: Why Faith is Always Political

How Joseph Met Mary In the [Apocryphal] Gospel of James

Put yourself in the Nativity story

Christmas Carols or Climate Carols?

The origins of Jesus in the book of origins: Matthew 1

The Subversive Message of the Christian Nativity

The Year Jesus Was Born

Welcome to Year A for the Christian Resistance

The War on Christmas

Russell Johnson on Christmas movies

The Christmas Story Teaches Us About the True Nature of Power

Photos and Memories

La genealogia di Gesu

Think You Know the Christmas Story? Here are Five Common Misconceptions

Does Matthew or Luke tell a better Christmas story?

Mohammad’s Child

Somebody’s Gotta Be Mary!

Desolation and Consolation Reside Together

For To Us a Child is Born (RJS)

The Word in Flesh

A Christmas message from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

Did the Magi Bring Jesus A Gift From Buddha?

Before We Sing Silent Night

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  • Gary

    “When Jesus was an embryo”…
    Trying to get what the author was driving at. Her statement, “All I know is that one cell divided in two, two cells became four, eight, sixteen, and so on, until the Son of God was a blastocyst”..
    Is she pro-life, pro-choice? Her words reflect pro-life, mentioning psalms, since that is what pro-lifers usually mention. But what is the point she is trying to make. Don’t know.
    Then there is the comment, “although I think reflection on when Jesus was an embryo should lead to more significant changes to traditional ways of thinking about him…”
    Does this mean “changes to traditional ways of thinking about him” means, “when did he become human, when did he become God (assuming he was), when could a morally justified procedure be performed upon him considering his mother’s circumstances (jealously offering), and what traditional changes SHOULD we make to our traditional ways of thinking about him?”

    Given our modern movement of pro-choice, I think I prefer staying with the traditional way of thinking about him. I do not believe that our modern progressive movements are alway considered “morally better”, just because the majority seems to prefer them.

  • Dan Eumurian

    I’ve been looking for scholarship regarding the Nativity. Happy to find this site. Thanks! I’ve written a Christmas musical play and want to revise it to be not only catchy but accurate as well.

    • Sounds like a fascinating project! I hope it goes well, and would be interested to hear more about it. Are you familiar with Kenneth Bailey’s Christmas musical?

      • Dan Eumurian

        Thanks! The play is called “Shiny Tim and the Hum Bugs.” It’s been performed a few times. As I revise it, I plan to have one of the bugs be a skeptic. I think I’ll call him “Hmm Bug.” He’ll present arguments against the veracity of the gospel accounts of the Nativity, and other bugs will respond. I appreciate the “minimal facts” approach of Gary Habermas and Mike Licona, and Leland Ryken’s _Literary Guide to the Bible_ and other works. I’ll look up Bailey’s play.