Dec 24 2009

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Published by at 5:05 pm under Wave Guide 10: Pop Culture

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas!

Christmas is the time of the year that Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, who according to Matthew and Mark in the New Testament, was born to the Virgin Mary in the city of Bethlehem;  in about 4 BC.

Adoration of the Child (1439-43), a mural by Florentine painter Fra Angelico.  


Christians believe that Jesus is the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament, and in his trial before the Sanhedrin Jesus himself  indicated that he is the Messiah (Mark 14: 53-65). 

Jesus’ moral teachings are as extraordinary today as they were 2000 years ago and include: the Golden Rule — Do unto others as you would have them do to you, turning the other cheek, loving your enemies, etc.  Jesus is also famous for his outreach to all who would listen, including sinners and even tax collectors, such as the apostle Matthew.  You can read more about Christ’s teachings in any online Bible and in many online commentaries.

The Star of Bethlehem — The Christmas Star

According to Matthew, the “Wise Men” from the east followed the star to Jerusalem and eventually found their way to the manger in Bethlehem where Jesus had been born.

Adoration of the Magi by Florentine painter Giotto di Bondone (1267–1337). The Star of Bethlehem is shown as a comet above the child. Giotto witnessed an appearance of Halley’s Comet in 1301. 


 Although Giotto portrayed the Star of Bethlehem as a comet, other explanations have been suggested including a supernova or a conjunction of Jupiter and Venus.  This time of year many planetariums offer interesting public programs on this phenomenon.  Be sure to check out  the Vatican Observatory’s  perspective on the star.

Christmas in Africa with Dr. Livingstone (“I presume”) and Henry Stanley

One of the Great Explorations of the last 200 years was Dr. David Livingstone’s adventures in central Africa.  You might be interested in reading about how he and Henry Stanley celebrated Christmas in 1871, in “10 Lessons Dr. Livingstone (“…I presume?”) Teaches Us About the Human Future in Space

And although not directly about Christmas, you may also enjoy checking out the spiritual side of the human expansion into the cosmos in, “10 Spiritual Connections of the Human Exploration of Space“.

Merry Christmas!

One response so far

One Response to “Merry Christmas Everyone!”

  1. Melinda Bordeson 25 Dec 2009 at 2:59 am

    Merry Christmas, Bruce!

    Thank you for sharing this on Christmas eve! It is so valuable to remind others the reason for the season in such a blog as yours and there is something reassuring seeing this subject matter in a scientific blog. Good job! It’s great knowing you! Hope your day is special tomorrow and the coming years are abundant as predicted!


    Hi Melinda!

    Thanks for your message. Glad you enjoyed the post about Christmas and the cosmos.

    There at Anna Maria, FL you have the best of both worlds. To the west you have spectacular sunsets, and to the east you have unsurpassed rocket-rises, courtesy of Kennedy Space Center!

    Merry Christmas!


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