Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Rethinking Christmas

FAUX News supports a "war" on Christmas every year.  This so-called war is, of course, the fault of them damn libruls who don't believe nothin' and try to take the joy out of the conservatives/reactionaries' celebration of the season.  

Christmas, by god, is the reason for the season.  Keep Christ in Christmas!  

Here's a fascinating tidbit:  The celebration of the birth of the legendary Jesus was not of much interest in the early church.  In fact, it was pretty much ignored for the first 400 years of the church's life.

By then, however the cult of the Virgin Mary had gradually become a factor in the church and the superstitious laity egged on by the ignorant clergy, supported the notion that she was the "mother of god" and deserving of recognition and veneration on her own.  She birthed Jesus so that birth became of interest and importance.

Simultaneously, the cult of Mithras which was fighting Christianity for supremacy in the Roman Empire, had provided Christians fodder for fleshing out their religious beliefs and practices.  For example, while the cult of Mithras was pretty much just for the male members of society, it did include a baptismal rite featuring a symbolic washing in the blood of a bull along with a Eucharist which included the drinking of wine and the eating of bread.  Early Christian fathers, of course, argued that the Mithrans stole those things from Christianity, but their arguments do not hold water.  It was the reverse.

Additionally, Mithrans believed their savior was born of a virgin on December 25 in a cave surrounded by angels, the babe being wrapped in swaddling cloths. It is said that the eve of Mithras birth, December 24, was a time of great celebration in Rome.

Because the birth of Jesus had been of little consequence, no one knew when their legendary, Jesus, was supposed to have been born.  One of the Gospel birth stories speaks of Jesus' birth occurring when shepherds were in the fields with their flocks, which would suggest it was not during the winter.  Most of the Christian leaders didn't give a rip until the middle of 4th century, and there was great disagreement.  Some thought his birth was in the fall, others in the spring. Finally, they chose December 25, which was the day when Mithras, a sun-god, was born.

It was a smart move, because one of the gods most people in Rome worshipped was born on that day so it made for an easy transition from paganism to Christianity.

Today, Christmas is a time when the birth of Jesus gets little attention, except in the churches.  We do hear the words, "Peace on earth, goodwill toward men," but nobody really cares about them and it has become obvious in recent months that for most people in this country that refers only to good, conservative Americans. Everyone else can go to hell.

The most important thing to note about Christmas these days is that our capitalistic country promotes unending purchases of merchandise (most of which is made in China - that damn atheistic commie country) because our retailers have screwed things up so badly their commercial lives actually depend upon ever-increasing Christmas sales.

Some pious folks do go to church.  They enjoy hearing the same old stories regurgitated over and over again.  It is soothing and healing to sing Christmas carols and listen to Christmas bells and soak in the Christmas atmosphere. Seldom do they realize (because the almost never read their Bibles) that only two of the four gospels contain a birth story and they contradict each other dramatically.  They focus on smarthy sentimental stuff like creches and camels, wise men and stars, and angels singing high in the heavens.  Jesus is never presented as a real human being, but as a sprightly little cherub resting in a crib, never crying, never pooping, never sucking on his mother's teat, totally innocuous and totally unrelated to real life.

But it's better that way.  If Christians actually celebrated the life of Jesus instead of the mythical birth they would be compelled to change their ways and who the hell wants to do that.

I mean, really, 81% of the evilgelicals in the U.S. voted for Trump to make America great again. Who needs Jesus?

So maybe we should have a war on Christmas.  We should maybe wage war on the monumental hypocrisy inherent in pledging obeisance to the savior of the world while at the same time acting in ways totally inconsistent with what he taught!  We buy and buy and hassle everybody in sight, drink too much, and spend way too much for no good reason other than to put coins in the coffers of the businesses who could not exist without this unholy holiday.

Christmas today is not about the birth of Jesus or the birth of Christ no matter the pretentious phonies at FAUX News.  And interestingly enough, the apostle Paul cared not a whit about when, where, or how Jesus was born.  He never mentions it in his letters.

Is it possible that the American Atheists have a point?  Going to church on Christmas merely reinforces old myths and old traditions and old patterns of behavior which bring nothing good to the world which the Savior came to save.

Make Christmas great again.  Skip church.  Skip all the nonsense.  Bring families and friends together; renew the ties that bind;  and follow the words of the one who grew into a troublemaker, who challenged the status quo, the religious and political establishments, who said in no uncertain terms that the only thing of importance to god and to the world is that we care for and love one another.

Racism, bigotry, narcissism, egocentrism, hatred and war must be expunged from our lives if we want to make Christmas great again.  Nothing else matters.  And if the church does not help make that possible, then by god, skip church!

Meanwhile, until we figure out how to rightly celebrate Christmas, let us greet one another with the phrase, "Happy Holidays," to show we care for all people and recognize the worth of those who follow different traditions!

One last thought:  If the Church didn't think the birth of Jesus was worth fussing about for 400 years, I reckon we don't need to fuss about it, either.