Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas Myths

It seems almost obligatory to do an annual “War on Christmas” posting this time of year.

I could try to imitate Thomas Paine and create a tract that rallies the troops to continue the fight in these adverse times when everything seems to be going against us.

THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.

Except . . .

There is no war.

Christmas is not, in principle, a time for trying men’s souls. This is a time, more than any other, where a lot of people make an extra effort to make the world a better place than it would have otherwise been. It’s a time when a lot of people find extra value in making other people happy – family, friends, and even complete strangers.

This “War on Christmas” story is as much a fiction as Santa Claus and elves and Jesus in the manger. Only, the “war on Christmas” is not a fiction invented to entertain and delight children. Nor is it a fiction that evolved to promote peace and good will towards men. The “War on Christmas” myth, it seems, is a fiction invented to “bear false witness” against others for the purpose of promoting hatred and anger.

It’s the one Christmas myth that we can really do without.

I have my Christmas tree up. There are ornaments on it that represent angels and a star on the top that one could, I suppose, say represents the Star of Bethlehem (or the North Star . . . whichever pleases you more). They sit beside ornaments depicting Santa Claus flying reindeer, all hanging on the Christmas Tree itself – whether that is supposed to represent.

I’m sitting here listening to Jimmy Buffett’s Christmas Island album . . . and I’ve been listening to Christmas music all morning. Some mention Santa Claus and reindeer, others mention Jesus.

Fortunately, none of my albums are contaminated with songs dealing with the “War on Christmas” myth. I just don’t think that I would care to listen to those.

Nor do I have any ornaments representing the “war on Christmas” ornaments though. Like I said, that is one Christmas myth that we do not need to perpetuate.

And I say “Merry Christmas” to people.

Yet, when hearing many Christians say the words these days, it sounds an awful lot like they’re saying, “Merry Christmas, a$$hole.” They say the words with an arrogance and meanness that sort of takes a lot of fun out of the season. Yet, I suspect that this describes the difference between those (like me) who favor the Santa Claus myth who mean the words to say, “I wish for you a time of joy and happiness,” and those who favor the “Jesus in a manger myth” who mean it to say, “I wish peace on Earth and good will towards man,” and those who favor the “War on Christmas” myth who mean to say, “F*** you if you’re not a Christian.”

It’s not that I have anything against peace on Earth and good will towards man. In fact, I consider it to be essential ingredients to the whole joy and happiness thing. The two are really quite compatible.

Not so compatible, I think, with the third option. I look at it, and I don’t sense much “joy and happiness” or “good will towards men” in the whole “war on Christmas” myth.

Now, I’m told that Christmas has “Christ” in it. It is a holiday specially reserved for Christians, and others who impose on this holiday, giving it their own infidel interpretations, are, they’re trespassing, dammit!.

Well, I still call that time in the morning when the sun emerges above the horizon ‘sunrise’, and the time when the sun disappears in the evening ‘sunset,’ even though we (almost all of us) have learned that the Sun does not truly rise or set. Some habits are just not worth changing.

Really, think about it. Do you think that I would have anything to complain about if it was called “Santaday?”

What would make one term better (or worse) than the other?

Besides, it would be a bit hypocritical, I think, for the “War on Christmas” Christians to complain about sharing other peoples’ holidays. (Note: The “Peace on Earth” Christians, I don’t think, would care much. I think that the “good will towards men” theme would be more than happy to share the season with others).

Even if the vast majority of the population were to come to realize that the Jesus myth is just as much fiction as the Santa Claus myth, I do not think that this realization would have any effect on the holiday. After all, we know that the Santa Claus myth is . . . well . . . myth, and that does not seem to detract in any way from enjoying the season.

In whatever way you take the term, I wish you joy and happiness, not only during this holiday season but in the year that follows. And I hope for peace on Earth and good will to men. And . . . well . . . let me just say . . . Merry Christmas.”


Anonymous said...

... and happy festivus of course.

Anonymous said...

merry paganmas