A Rare Medium Well Done: 12.14.12
This will not be a popular blog. Most of you will loathe my thoughts. Just please know these are MY opinions. And also comprehend that these are researched and widely accepted facts.
I do not like Christmas. I despise the over-commercialization. It is often duplicitous, desperate and demented. The common thread has evolved to arrogant zeal. It now creates a pathological level of paranoia. Some critically reason that the real meaning is lost. But what is the real meaning? What is the purpose of this season of celebration? How has Christmas morphed into a theater of astringent realism and distaste for moral posture?
Constantine was the emperor of Rome in 312. He is widely credited by biblical scholars as authorizing the first bible. Having embraced the Christian faith himself, he set forth to bring the amalgamation of paganism and Christianity. He entrusted Eusebius to gather the holy texts and edit them into a collection of gospels. At the time, Eusebius rejected the deity of Christ and claimed the notion was a created being. Constantine pressed and Eusebius relented. Constantine would ultimately decide what authors would be included and excluded. Many symbols and traditions held close by modern day Christians were once rooted in the godless times of paganism. Items that survived include the cross, fish symbol, vow of silence, amen as an expression of concurrence and yes, even Christmas.
For over a thousand years the pagans of ancient Rome celebrated Saturnalia. This was a weeklong festival of feasting and gift giving. It took place from December 17-24. The object was debauchery and dancing ( known as ‘caroling’). The purpose was to nudge the sun to send a message directed at mother Earth. A mission of reproducing for the spring. This date officially began, you guessed it, on December 25.
Four hundred years later as the Romans had almost completely transformed into accepting Christianity, Pope Julius decided that December 25 would be designated as the birthday of Christ. This date for centuries had celebrated the birth of the god Mithras as well was numerous other pagan idols. But before this proclamation, March 25 had loomed as the most holy day for the new found Christians. This began the Feast of Annunciation as it responded to present the conception of Christ, not the birth. And to a lesser extent, December 25 fabled the first day of the winter solstice, a highly regarded day among Romans. So as you see, December 25 is a random date with many meanings to a diverse amount of people. No evidence whatsoever as it being the birthday of Christ. The date was chosen to replace a popular ‘unholy’ festival so as the population wouldn’t experience a void on a longstanding tradition. Pope Julius chose this course to reduce a discontented psychosis of citizens, fearing of a revolt and a return to old paganistic ways.
It worked. Then it spun terribly out of control.
The term ‘Christmas’ also presents some borrowed inconsistencies. In essence it’s “Christ mass”. This enumerated the celebration of the Lord’s supper. The Roman Catholics tabbed this ‘mass’ while the Protestants labeled it ‘communion supper’. Yet another example of forced religious compromise.
What about other signs of Christmas universally accepted as fact and born in the days of a godless world? Christmas colors of red and green. Once again this harkens to the pagan times. Red was employed to represent fertility in the male. Green masked as the incubation period of the female. Holiday decorations of green leaves of holly, mistletoe, and wreaths also date to ancient pagan times.
Another simple and unmoving adherence to open-minded consideration is the mis-representation of Santa Claus. We are taught that he evolved from the good Saint Nicholas. Yet historians link Claus to a pagan god named Odin. This heathen was described as a “paunchy white bearded old man draped in a long red cloak”. He was known for outrageous orgies and a decadent resilient tyranny. Not exactly the role model we now hold dearly. But to identify the Santa Claus we now love, lets focus our attention to Atlanta. In the 1930’s the Coca Cola company was looking for a way to sell their product during cold winter months. They decided on the jolly fat man. The incarnation of the gift giving, sleigh-riding character was born. That’s right, Santa Claus was a gimmick marketing device produced as a vehicle to sell soft drinks. Once again, a misconception of biblical proportions.
Let us examine the Christmas tree. The ancient Egyptians worshipped a god called Ra. During the winter solstice people decorated their houses with green palm rushes. The Romans continued the practice during Saturnalia by adorning their dwellings with evergreen boughs. Yep, of the “boughs of holly” fame. The folks of early Germania ( now known as Germany) are credited with advocating the first Christmas tree. They would carry on this tradition as they migrated to America. It would soon morph into decorating the tree with odd and shiny objects. But as the Puritans arrived and slowly enforced their beliefs, the practice was halted. Seems the Puritan people led by Oliver Cromwell himself viewed this as a “pagan mockery” and “heathen tradition”. Soon all forms of ‘yule tide’ trees were outlawed. The General Court of Massachusetts formally enacted a law in 1659 forbidding any observance on December 25 as a penal offense. Punishment would vary from time in the public stocks or to a more dreaded scarlet letter.
What about the idea of wrapped presents? Gift giving? Making a list and checking it twice at the mall?
For over 600 years dating back to Rome, the idea and practice of gift giving was frowned upon. As a matter of course, the Roman Catholic Church disallowed any semblance of exchanging gifts. They surmised this to be rooted in paganistic ways. Those caught were either crucified or stoned to death. I’m guessing that the greedy folks at Wal-Mart would have taken the side of the citizens had they existed back then.
Other Christmas myths widely accepted but found nowhere in the bible:
-Mary riding a donkey to Bethlehem. No donkey is ever mentioned concerning Mary.
-Joseph talking to innkeepers. The word innkeeper is void in the text pertaining to Jesus.
-Jesus was born in a stable? Or a barn? Or a cave? Scripture only states he was born in a manger. Never is a specific dwelling mentioned.
-Angels were present at the birth? Scripture never confirms this.
-Three kings rode in on camels to Jesus’ birth? The bible doesn’t report any mode of transportation. As a matter of fact, biblical scholars accept that the three wise men were not even present for the birth. Based on scientific calculations of King Herod, Jesus could have been as old as two when the wise men materialized.
The nativity scene is a powerful image and terrific prose. Yet according to the bible it’s just not factual. This is not a notion held by the non-believing. This is supported by the scriptures themselves. And accepting the bible in a literal way is a basic tenet of Christianity.
So what am I trying to prove? Why do I take this stand? I do this because of what this myth has become. I grew up in church. I am a strong believing Christian. I accept Jesus as my savior. I believe in heaven and hell. I understand the agony and persecution that early Christians experienced. But the idea and thought of the Christmas of today sickens me. Long lost is the real reason for celebration. It was now become a creation for commerce. A celebration of material goods. A cessation of all subversive. A non-stop neon light illuminating through the fog of controversy and lies. Under this mass larceny of heart and minds I’m often reminded of this scenario. As we are taught at an early age, if you are a good little boy Santa will bring you toys. So somewhere in this country a little boy believes this. He lives it for 364 days. He never wavers. Under the myth of Christmas he will find untold gifts under the tree. The only problem, as he dashes to the tree on Christmas morning, there are no toys. There are no gifts. Only an unrealized indifference of human suffering. Santa didn’t come. And with it begins another round of lies and deceit.
Enjoy Christmas. Just understand what it was, is and will become.
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