Everyone in American media is jumping on the Christmas bandwagon this week. Perhaps that’s customary in late December, but this year the focus on Christmas comes with an anxious twist—as if somehow the U.S. is losing track of the faith claimed by 3 out of 4 Americans. We’re not worried that Christianity is in any real danger, but we are pleased to see a wide array of great Christmas-themed television!
’60 Minutes’ Online Salutes Christmas
Millions of Americans do seem anxious about the religious meaning of Christmas—perhaps an unfounded fear whipped up to energize consumers. On Monday, we published an OurValues commentary by guest writer Terry Gallagher about an angry-C-for-Christmas music video that has drawn 17 million viewers.
Even CBS’ “60 Minutes Overtime”—an online expansion of the popular CBS News series—sent out an email on Monday sharing the following 1968 Christmas video with Harry Reasoner celebrating Christmas.
Here’s how the CBS website explained this 8-minute video: Looking through the “60 Minutes” archive, this piece stood out as something you probably wouldn’t see on network TV today. The C-words—Christ and Christmas—have largely been replaced by religion-neutral terms like “season” and “holiday” to the dismay of many Christians who see it as “taking the Christ out of Christmas.” But, as you’ll see here, correspondent Harry Reasoner dives right in with the opening line: “Tomorrow is Christmas.” At the time, the “60 Minutes” broadcast was still in its embryonic stage, and you’ll notice that the story is different in tone and style from today’s broadcast. Reasoner muses on the question, what did Jesus Christ really look like? He searches for the answer in paintings, poems, and letters. “60 Minutes Overtime” presents this classic piece, just in time for—yes, we’re really going to say it—Christmas.
You should see a video screen below. Click to play the 8-minute clip. On slower Internet connections, it may take a moment for the video to load. If you don’t see a video screen, try clicking here to reload the original ReadTheSpirit story:
National Geographic Channel Chimes in for Christmas, too
Our readers often complain that the best new media seems to gush out in a flood—too many new books to read or too much video to view. That’s the case with National Geographic offering three hours of documentaries, tonight, that many of our readers may enjoy. If you want to see Part 2 of PBS “The Calling,” tonight, you’ll have to use a recording device. (Note: Here is our overview story on “The Calling,” explaining why this 4-hour-long PBS documentary gives us an inspiring glimpse of our future.)
National Geographic is airing three, one-hour documentaries on the life of Jesus and his followers.
“Living in the Time of Jesus: Making a Living”—National Geographic has a special overview page about this special one-hour documentary on daily life in the 1st Century. This is part of National Geographic’s “Mysteries of the Bible” series and gives viewers a bit of history, some archaeology, fascinating footage of the “Holy Land” and some staged demonstrations of hands-on work in a 1st-Century community.
“Living in the Time of Jesus: Healing the Sick”—The second hour covers health and medical care in the era and the region of Jesus’ life. Again, National Geographic cameras connect us with the past through scenes from today. There’s an overview page for this episode as well.
“Living in the Time of Jesus: Crime and Punishment”—The third hour looks at 1st-Century Jewish and Roman systems of law, justice and punishment. Here’s the National Geographic page for that episode.
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(Originally published at readthespirit.com)