'Alien Nativity' Featured in Former Ore. Church Building

Although the Christmas season is a time for manger scenes to be displayed throughout the nation, one Oregon resident created an out-of-this world unconventional seasonal display.

Portland artist Matt Henderson created an “Alien Nativity,” which was set up in a former-church-turned-small-arts venue in the northeast part of Portland.

“That’s like the most exciting prospect is people getting completely caught off guard by it,” said Henderson in an interview with Portland’s News Channel 8.

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To see a photo of the “Alien Nativity,” click here.

The display was present at the former church building off of Alberta Street from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. from Dec. 20 until Christmas day.

In addition to the alien magi and a shaman Santa Claus, the building’s interior contained lighted archways and instrumental music. Rather than have an extraterrestrial baby Jesus, Henderson opted instead to put a reflective mirror in the manger.

“You wind up seeing a reflection of yourself, and that's the symbolic message of nativity,” Henderson told News Channel 8’s Reggie Aqui.

“Recognizing divinity and potential in yourself, and at the same time perhaps recognizing the terrestrial nature of Christ.”

On Dec. 23, Henderson also put together a more traditional looking living nativity complete with period costumes, fake beards, and all principle characters being human. To go with the more normal nativity display, Henderson had a description printed out titled the “Nativity Statement.”

According to the “Nativity Statement,” while Henderson considers himself a “non-theist,” he nevertheless feels that a total disdain for religion can be “at times, misguided.”

The small arts venue that Henderson’s “Alien Nativity” was erected at is the headquarters for a group called “Rare Air Ministries,” or “Xhurch” (pronounced “church”).

Rare Air Ministries sees its mission as an “effort to document and promote church adaptation and re-use.” “Xhurch” is defined by their blog as an “ex church.”

Regarding next year, Henderson hopes to create a “McNativity,” or a manger scene whose theme will be the fast food franchise McDonalds.

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