A star, a star! Was Jesus a Gemini?: Xmas miscellany
Some astronomers believe that Jesus was actually born around June 17, 2 B.C., when a conjunction of Venus and Jupiter would have made the planets appear as a single “beacon of light” — the star the Wise Men followed to the stable.
Good will toward men, and biometric fingerprinting: Today’s border agencies would not have let the Magi in. (See UK Border Agency’s holiday card, above, and this 2005 London Underground service announcement.)
When Dickens’ A Christmas Carol appeared in 1843, the holiday was “a relatively minor affair that ranked far below Easter.” See NPR’s excerpt from Les Standiford’s The Man Who Invented Christmas.
More seasonal Dickens: Morgan Meis on the real charms of A Christmas Carol; online views of the author’s corrected manuscript, which is on display at the Morgan through January 10; morbid Charles Dickens; and notes following my visit to his only surviving London home.
In “a cross between the nativity and one of Rudyard Kipling’s Just So stories,” Jeanette Winterson reimagines the nativity story from the donkey’s perspective.
Finally, here are a couple gifts that are no longer available to holiday shoppers: a mouse toy that allegedly sings “pedophile, pedophile” rather than “Jingle Bells,” and whiskey toothpaste.