December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas?

Imagine if we compiled a team of writers to come up with a holiday that contrasted as much as possible with the message and life of the mythical character Jesus. What might they come up with?

1. Since Jesus lived in the desert cold weather themes, especially with lots of snow would be a good start.

2. And since Jesus eschewed all material possessions and traveled with little more than a robe and a walking stick, mass consumerism would be about the other end of the spectrum as far as he was concerned.

3. And finally, since Jesus abhorred idol worship and paganism, we should probably throw in some bizarre fairy tales, such as an old man in the North Pole with shops full of toy-making elves and talking reindeer just to make sure this holiday has as little as possible in common with Jesus’ life and message.

So what’d you know, our imaginary team couldn’t have come up with anything more antithetical to the “real” meaning of Christmas than Christmas as practiced in the United States. How this seems to go largely unnoticed in what is supposedly a “Christian” nation is one of life’s great mysteries (or at least America’s). You would think that instead of criticizing people for not saying “merry Christmas”, Christians would be doing everything in their power to distance themselves from this pagan festival of hedonism that terribly despoils the legacy of their savior (which is actually what the Puritans did centuries ago).

But alas, reason and rationality have never been the strong suit of the religious in America (or anywhere for that matter). Some have gone so far as to criticize President Bush’s holiday cards that too steer away from overt Christmas messages. I guess for some people, anything short of praising Jesus with every breath (and fistful of dollars) falls short of the true Christmas spirit.

So anyway, happy holidays everyone. I hope you’re enjoying a new ipod, taking your kids to visit Santa Claus, and eating lots of sugar cookies….or maybe even thinking about ways in which to ease the suffering that persists in the world after all these thousands of years since civilization began.

J.S.

P.S. For an even more scathing critique of Christmas check out what Christopher Hitchens has to say.

P.P.S. It seems like the Federal District Court agrees with Duane Valz on “Intelligent Design”, and that’s truly something to celebrate this holiday season.

Jason Scorse

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