It is 9:27 AM on December 24th, 2021. I’m sitting in our living room surrounded by the ambiance of our gas fireplace, our fish tank, my Department 56 Dicken’s Village display, the Christmas tree and I have Christmas music going on in the living room. I’m trying very hard to summon up the magic of Christmas for myself as the boys seems to already be very excited.
Unfortunately I’m having a difficult time summoning the magic this year. I suppose a large part of it has to do with the pandemic and political environment. There just seems to be one existential threat after another: Covid variants, anti-vaxers, global warming, inflation, slow, weak recovery of my industry, possible loss of democracy, emerging fascism, loss of friends due to politics, dangerous geo-political situations and so on. It is like trying to be cheerful at a champagin party onboard the Titanic after it has struck the iceberg.
However it does no good to be glum since there is nothing I can do about any of the above so my only choice is to get into the spirit and enjoy myself. It really all does come down to mindset. With a strong and healthy mindset external factors become much less relevant. So even though I’ve got Christmas ambiance coming out of my ears my mind isn’t very cheerful at the moment. Luckily I have quick fix and that is exercise. After this post I’ll go hit my home gym and that will be certain to put me in a better mood.
As for Christmas itself we’re going through a big culture war here in the USA. I grew up Catholic and never realized how big of a hold Christianity had on America because it just seemed normal to me, as though that is the way things should be. After all my travels, studies and reading I could no longer believe in the Christian teaching and frankly it has been incredibly liberating. Now that I’m on the outside I see just how bizarre it all is. But since I do not believe there are those that ask why I celebrate Christmas? Well the answer is that Christmas is just Christianity’s way of taking over older pagan traditions, namely the winter solstice so as to more easily convert populations. Christianity’s playbook is to make a Christian celebration at the same time as the pagan/native religions celebration so the populace could be converted more easily. And that is what Christmas is since as far as scholars tell us Christ was not born even remotely near December 25th but more likely in June!
See this article as a backup to my points above:
Yet here I am listening to CHRISTmas music, many of them about Christ. So how do I reconcile my un-belief with the holiday? Well, it is an important part of the culture here in the USA and I’m a part of that culture. Furthermore, there is the winter solstice and Christmas is really just an appropriation of that older holiday. But do I really even need a justification or reason to enjoy the holiday? One of my old high school acquaintances posted on Facebook “If you don’t believe in Jesus then what you are you celebrating at Christmas?” This is an example of the sophomoric thinking that so deeply affects America. Statements like that work well on a large swath of America simply because a large swath are not well read, nor well traveled and simply believe what their parents taught them to believe. It’s not much more complicated than that.
But I digress. Christmas is not strictly a religious holiday. If it were then Christians should just attend church and dispense with the decorations, the pagan Christmas tree, the nauseating consumerism and should probably dispense with Santa Claus as his true history can be quite controversial and murky. I’ve got a bad taste in my mouth recently for Christianity because unfortunately they’ve been tied quite a bit to Trump. This has created a very sick mix of rabid patriotism, religion, anti-science, guns and so on. Just as Trumpian conservatives appropriated the US flag they also try to appropriate Christianity. Show me a place in the bible belt that isn’t solidly Trump!
Anyway, it is these thoughts going through my head which have made Christmas a bit more complex for me. I guess I could call it “Yule,” or “Festivus,” or the solstice but that would be a bit silly. It is known here as Christmas and I have no problems with Christ. From what I’ve read he seems like a really good person! I just don’t think he is the son of God and I detest a good portion of his followers currently as they run around with their flags, guns and crucifixes.
Maybe Jesus could just send a nasty plague to correct the situation?