Dilution of The Nat...
 
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Dilution of The Nativity Play....

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amy green
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Whilst I am not a christian, this development renders Christmas less meaningful/significant. Jesus seems to be already eclipsed by Santa!

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Principled
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Thanks Amy. Oh dear, this is so depressing.

It's rather like a department store in a provincial city in Japan a few years ago (though they had an excuse for their lack of understanding) They had a Christmas window and couldn't understand why so many Westerners were visiting it and taking photos of it and laughing. Bless them, they had the stable, with the holy family and the animals inside, but outside, they had Rudolph and the other reindeer looking through the windows and - wait for it - Santa hung on a cross!!! πŸ˜€

Love and peace,

Judy

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Energylz
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Christmas has been losing it's meaning for a long while now. That's saddening, as it's become more about material gain.

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Crowan
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Christmas has been losing it's meaning for a long while now. That's saddening, as it's become more about material gain.

It’s not just Christmas that has gone this way – everything that can become more about material gain has done. That is an inevitable result of the capitalist system that affects most of modern culture.

However, I don’t think that this trend in Nativity plays (if what is posted on Netsmum can be indicative of a trend) is particularly new. Invented characters have been added ever since the concept of a nativity play started – or before that in the days of Medieval Miracle Plays. It is commonplace. And, arguably, part of the tradition.

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Energylz
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I can understand schools wanting to add characters to the story so that all the kids can have a part in the play (it's an education for them to all take part), but those characters should be relevant or within the context of what the nativity is about. Spacemen and Elvis certainly don't fall into that category.

I'm not religious myself, but I respect the fact that some things shouldn't be changed for the sake of stupid rules and perceived political correctness.

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Crowan
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I can understand schools wanting to add characters to the story so that all the kids can have a part in the play (it's an education for them to all take part), but those characters should be relevant or within the context of what the nativity is about. Spacemen and Elvis certainly don't fall into that category.

I'm not religious myself, but I respect the fact that some things shouldn't be changed for the sake of stupid rules and perceived political correctness.

What stupid rules and political correctness? The article mentioned no rules.

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Crowan
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You won't be liking this then?

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Reiki Pixie
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The traditional nativity play is just a story from mythology, so what if you stick aliens and superman into the frame. Indeed why not, it's just a bit of creative fantasy!

And this is a problem with religions in general. The tendency to confuse mythology with history. There's nothing wrong with mythology and a lot to be learned from it πŸ™‚

One comment in the article mentioned Christmas pop songs being played not Christmas carols. In my biased mind that sounds great. Hated carols at school, and hated religious assemblies and crappy nativity plays.

Lets face it nativity plays are just for the parents and a residue of state-church-sponsored propaganda.

As for not being allowed to take pictures at a school play, that's just buying into fear and paranoia. This is absolutely bonkers!

And yes Crimbo time is very over commercialised, and it's a shame that the symbology behind this Christo-Pagan festival is misunderstood.

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Principled
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You won't be liking this then?

Congratulations Crowan - you've just won the prize for the best bad taste nativity scene! :p

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Charis
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Congratulations Crowan - you've just won the prize for the best bad taste nativity scene! :p

Here's another... πŸ˜€

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Crowan
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Seems T.Rex is a must - maybe to make up for the lack of donkeys. (Didn't the pope, a couple of years ago, say they weren't any donkeys there?)

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Charis
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Seems T.Rex is a must - maybe to make up for the lack of donkeys. (Didn't the pope, a couple of years ago, say they weren't any donkeys there?)

He did, I gather, but he was simply remarking on the fact that the Biblical accounts don't mention donkeys or any other animals, apart from the shepherds' flocks. Not that that proves conclusively which creatures should or shouldn't be included in a nativity scene - they don't mention T.Rex either, after all. :p

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Crowan
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I've been thinking quite a bit about this and - to go back to the original post - I'm not certain that it is making Christmas less meaningful. I suspect it's an attempt to do the opposite.

Picture the situation. A teacher, (possibly Christian herself - it's often RE teachers who are expected to do this sort of thing) charged with putting on the annual Nativity Play, talks to his/her class. (Let's say, in this case, 'her'.) She's talking to children who - for the most part - are not familiar with Christian stories and do not go to church. (Atheism is increasing, yes, and has been ever since the laws changed to allow it, but many people identify as C of E, without feeling they have to do anything about it.) So she tries to make the whole thing relevant to them.

She tells them the story of a baby who was born in a lowly place and who was visited by kings. The story of a baby who came to save the world. And then, after telling them about the kings (or wise men, if you prefer) and the shepherds, she says, "So who do you think would go to see him now?" Hands go up (she's a good teacher and they've hung on her every word), "the Queen!", "Elvis!", "Aliens!"

What is she going to do? The children don't know anything about kings. Even children who live on hill farms (surely a minority) won't know about shepherds these days.

So I think that these extra characters are there because the class thought they should be. Is she to say, "No. Elvis and aliens aren't allowed to see Baby Jesus."?

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Energylz
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When I was a child, I'd never met kings nor shepherds, but that didn't mean they were meaningless when we did the nativity. Part of education is to learn about these things.

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Crowan
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When I was a child, I'd never met kings nor shepherds, but that didn't mean they were meaningless when we did the nativity. Part of education is to learn about these things.

I don’t want to get in the way of a really good β€œwhat do they teach them in these schools these days?” diatribe, but the fact that you knew about kings and shepherds doesn’t mean that little ones – and generally we are talking about Infants – generally do. I often find I know stuff others don’t (and, when the topic is sport, vice versa).

Yes, education is learning about things. But what things are (possibly unfortunately) not up to you but up to the Minister for Education. A recent study indicated that most pupils cannot name the four gospels.

So all I was saying was that I can see how teachers will try to involve pupils in any way they can.

I really can’t see why Aliens and so on are so upsetting to Christians – isn’t it simply more souls coming to Jesus? To non-Christians, as I said before, this is part of the tradition. New characters have been added to religious plays since the Middle Ages. Surely, if the intent to tell the story of the birth of Jesus is intact, there is no harm to Christianity being done?

As a pagan shamanist, I can occasionally get cynical about the whole Father Christmas/Santa Claus mish-mash – which I consider further away from the spiritual reality than aliens in a Nativity play are- but really it’s not worth losing sleep over.

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Principled
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As a pagan shamanist, I can occasionally get cynical about the whole Father Christmas/Santa Claus mish-mash – which I consider further away from the spiritual reality than aliens in a Nativity play are- but really it’s not worth losing sleep over.

Well I certainly agree with you there Crowan! I guess we ought to be grateful when any form of nativity play is still being produced, but in its original form, it has such spiritual beauty, power and simplicity - not to mention visions, dreams, voices, angels, heavenly singing, a bright star, shepherds, wise men, gold, frankincense, and myrrh - plenty enough props if you ask me! πŸ˜‰

Love and peace,

Judy

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Well I certainly agree with you there Crowan! I guess we ought to be grateful when any form of nativity play is still being produced, but in its original form, it has such spiritual beauty, power and simplicity - not to mention visions, dreams, voices, angels, heavenly singing, a bright star, shepherds, wise men, gold, frankincense, and myrrh - plenty enough props if you ask me! πŸ˜‰

Love and peace,

Judy

I wonder how much truth is really bring presented in these plays and does it really matter. Commercialism, materialism and culture has clouded so much of our understanding that to get back to basics seems so alienated to what is expected of us.

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Charis
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I think I might have found at least one of the nativity plays referred to in the original article: I didn't realise this, but there are a lot of nativity plays by professional playwrights available for schools to buy - complete with scripts, songs, music CDs etc. to enable them to put on a proper production. So it's not necessarily the teachers or kids themselves deciding what to put in the play and making it up as they go along.

I'd raise an eyebrow, too, at the idea of "Christmas with the Aliens" on just hearing it, but reading the blurb, it doesn't sound so bad at all:

Christmas With The Aliens is a great nativity in which some alien visitors become stranded on earth with a broken spaceship. They meet a group of schoolchildren about to rehearse their Christmas play and are invited to watch it.
The aliens discover an amazing story and want the whole universe to hear it. But will they be able to mend their spaceship and travel back to outer space?

In other words, they're not pretending that aliens were actually there at the birth of Jesus 2000+ years ago, but imagining what might happen if aliens came to earth today, saw a nativity play and wanted to take its message with them. That's actually quite a creative way of "re-framing" the actual Christmas story and getting kids to think about it in a new and fun way! I rather like the sound of it. 😎

There are plenty of other modern nativity plays available from the same site, too (it's a Christian company that produces music and entertainment for school children). I haven't yet found one that involves Elvis, but you never know - he may be out there somewhere... πŸ™‚

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Principled
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I'd raise an eyebrow, too, at the idea of "Christmas with the Aliens" on just hearing it, but reading the blurb, it doesn't sound so bad at all.....

In other words, they're not pretending that aliens were actually there at the birth of Jesus 2000+ years ago, but imagining what might happen if aliens came to earth today, saw a nativity play and wanted to take its message with them. That's actually quite a creative way of "re-framing" the actual Christmas story and getting kids to think about it in a new and fun way! I rather like the sound of it. 😎

Yes, I rather like the sound of it too! Thanks for looking it up.

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Principled
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And here is another featuring a cast you couldn't make up! :rolleyes:

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Charis
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Well, at least that one is clearly just for a laugh (or a groan) and a bit of clever marketing - there's not much danger of children being led to believe that this is what the actual "first Christmas" looked like!! πŸ˜€

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Charis
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Here's another "different" version of the Nativity play with good reasons behind it - this one is being put on at a school for children with disabilities and special needs. This particular school puts on a play called "A Cosmic Christmas", in which the classes (grouped according to their needs) "each live on a different coloured planet and they each hear about the birth of the Baby Jesus": For children who would otherwise struggle to understand or perform in a more traditional Nativity play, that sounds like a lovely way of introducing them to the story and involving them in it.

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Principled
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Very moving - thanks for posting. πŸ™‚

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Charis
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Congratulations Crowan - you've just won the prize for the best bad taste nativity scene! :p

Actually, I think I've just discovered another one that pips even that...

[url]Zombie nativity scene ordered taken down by Ohio town bureaucrats[/url] :confused::eek:

Meanwhile, from there I surfed into an interesting theory (one I've heard before) that could mean all our Nativity scenes and plays are wrong anyway: o_O

[url]Jesus was not born in a stable, says theologian[/url]

Anyway, whether you've celebrated it as Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice (all of which share the theme of the beginning of new light at a time of darkness) - or as just a happy time with loved ones - wishing everyone here a joyous festive season and all the very best for the new year! πŸ™‚

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or as just a happy time with loved ones -
πŸ™‚

Can anything really beat this

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Charis
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As for this report of a Nativity play disaster... I don't believe much (if anything) that I read in the Metro, and I'm not entirely convinced this is true either. But it's a good story:

[url]Schoolboy performs in Nativity play dressed as Soviet dictator because he mixed up Josephs[/url] o_O

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