In a couple of different spots today, I've heard it said that Archbishop Rowan Williams, primate of the Anglican Church, has claimed that the Nativity is a legend.
The London Telegraph titles the article: "Archbishop says nativity a 'legend.'"
And here is a screen shot of that title from Drudge:
The telegraph even includes this quote: "Dr Williams said: "Matthew's gospel says they are astrologers, wise men, priests from somewhere outside the Roman Empire, that's all we're really told. It works quite well as legend.""
Interesting. When you read the actual interview, linked on the Telegraph's website, we find this quote. "Well Matthew's gospel doesn't tell us that there were three of them, doesn't tell us they were kings, doesn't tell us where they came from, it says they're astrologers, wise men, priests from somewhere outside the Roman Empire. That's all we're really told so, yes, 'the three kings with the one from Africa' - that's legend; it works quite well as legend."
Maybe I'm naive regarding the press, but I always thought that a quote should be a quote. The words actually said.
In further along in the Telegraph article we find the opinion: "In a final blow to the traditional nativity story, Dr Williams concluded that Jesus was probably not born in December at all. He said: "Christmas was when it was because it fitted well with the winter festival.""
A final blow? I think I've known this since before I was a teenager.
This is why I don't read popular media accounts of Christmas, Easter, or Jesus. You want the story on Jesus, in the Church's words, read the Bible.