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The bond between Scully and Doggett is finally solidified when he learns the truth about her pregnancy and does everything he can to save her in an intense final-act showdown. Eugene Tooms is a creepy, horrifying villain, and his nesting — along with his elongating himself through an air vent — still haunts nightmares more than two decades later. Bonus points for being the episode that introduces Special Agent Monica Reyes, because I am probably the only fan of this character that exists.

Even the ending, which you can see coming from a mile away, manages to be satisfying. This is an episode that deserves more recognition among the classic X-Files episodes that step outside the procedural box and try something different. Scully is mysteriously pregnant! Krycek is back — and he shoves Cigarette Smoking Man down a flight of stairs!

The cliff-hangers in this episode are fantastic, and so is the rest of the spooky, chock-full-of-aliens hour. Unfortunately, Duchovny split as a main character after this episode and forever upended the dynamic of the show.

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This is a heartfelt episode that continues to build the emotional bond between Doggett and Reyes. Shipping fantasies aside, the mystery is obvious from the cold open and never really goes anywhere unexpected. But years before Desperate Housewives hit the air, this satire on the insidious nature of the suburbs played pretty well. Mulder tries to figure out what happened to her, believing the Cigarette Smoking Man to somehow be behind it. The mysticism in this episode all hangs on the relentless lengths Mulder goes to to find out what happened to his partner. But this creepy installment about clones committing grisly murders is a really well-done monster-of-the-week ep, too.

The man is killed, but Mulder believes the boss is a monster, too, and gets locked up in a psych ward. It sets the tone for the entire series well, even despite all the twists and turns it would take throughout the years.

It battles for the top spot, obviously, with the glorious three-way split-screen bubble bath between Scully, Mulder, and Skinner. Dripping with atmosphere and dominated by Doggett, this monster of the week is further proof that season eight is better than people give it credit for.

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This episode knocks it out of the park. They end up running into a mysterious forest monster and delivering a well-done monster-of-the-week episode. This an incredibly affecting episode that will make anyone a John Doggett fan, unless you have a heart of stone. The paranoia present in every episode of The X-Files is driven to all-time heights in this installment, where Mulder and Scully are at the brink of insanity.

Scully and the Lone Gunmen rush to save him with the help of Skinner. The series would go on to have more near-excellent episodes after this one, but this is the last time The X-Files would reach glorious, iconic heights. Mulder lost his sister, father, and mother. Scully lost her sister and her child.

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Doggett lost his son. Reyes has always had paranormal connections to loss. Ultimately, The X-Files is a show about finding whatever you believe your family is. Scully also receives irrefutable truth that the paranormal exists, and Reyes and Doggett clasp hands, realizing their family is now one another.

The final showdown between Mulder and Modell, playing a game of Russian roulette, is one of the most tense scenes ever attempted by the series. Two roles in the episode were designed for pop-culture icons: Roseanne and Cher. This episode rightfully earned an Emmy nomination and won Gillian Anderson a lead-actress Emmy.

Except this: What makes it so brilliant is actually what keeps it from being the all-time-best episode. This is the series at its most meta, poking fun at the genre and The X-Files as a whole. The setup is simple: Mulder drives a wooden stake through the heart of a teenager he believes to be a vampire. But he might actually be human. No episode has ever gotten to the core of how much the two love each other, despite their differences, than this one. This episode takes every element that made the series so iconic and throws them all into one heartbreaking installment.

Yet, in the first few centuries C. This was still true as late as the violent persecutions of the Christians conducted by the Roman emperor Diocletian between and C. This would change only after Constantine converted to Christianity. From the mid-fourth century on, we do find Christians deliberately adapting and Christianizing pagan festivals.

A famous proponent of this practice was Pope Gregory the Great, who, in a letter written in C. At this late point, Christmas may well have acquired some pagan trappings. Thus, it seems unlikely that the date was simply selected to correspond with pagan solar festivals. The December 25 feast seems to have existed before —before Constantine and his conversion, at least. As we have seen, the Donatist Christians in North Africa seem to have known it from before that time.

This view was first suggested to the modern world by French scholar Louis Duchesne in the early 20th century and fully developed by American Thomas Talley in more recent years. Around C. Tertullian of Carthage reported the calculation that the 14th of Nisan the day of the crucifixion according to the Gospel of John in the year Jesus died c was equivalent to March 25 in the Roman solar calendar.

Exactly nine months later, Jesus was born, on December This idea appears in an anonymous Christian treatise titled On Solstices and Equinoxes , which appears to come from fourth-century North Africa. For on that day he was conceived on the same he suffered. Augustine, too, was familiar with this association. In On the Trinity c. But he was born, according to tradition, upon December the 25th. But instead of working from the 14th of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, the easterners used the 14th of the first spring month Artemisios in their local Greek calendar—April 6 to us.

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April 6 is, of course, exactly nine months before January 6—the eastern date for Christmas. One of the most poignant expressions of this belief is found in Christian art. The notion that creation and redemption should occur at the same time of year is also reflected in ancient Jewish tradition, recorded in the Talmud. The Babylonian Talmud preserves a dispute between two early-second-century C.

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In the end we are left with a question: How did December 25 become Christmas? We cannot be entirely sure.

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Elements of the festival that developed from the fourth century until modern times may well derive from pagan traditions. The article was first republished in Bible History Daily in December See the following Bible Review articles: David R. Hock and David R. In the West and eventually everywhere , the Easter celebration was later shifted from the actual day to the following Sunday. Clement, Stromateis 1. See further on this point Thomas J. Talley, Origins of the Liturgical Year , 2nd ed. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, , pp. A gloss on a manuscript of Dionysius Bar Salibi, d. Paris: Thorin et Fontemoing, , pp.

There are other relevant texts for this element of argument, including Hippolytus and the pseudo-Cyprianic De pascha computus ; see Talley, Origins , pp.