Friday, December 16, 2005

Theobertarian Dictionary Part 7 (Christmas)

Theobertarians Celebrating Christmas the Right Way

I’m personally not a big Christmas person.  For many years, I’ve associated the holiday with emotional stress due to some bad Christmasses.  My wife, who loves Christmas, isn’t crazy about this fact.  She’d prefer that I joyfully be volunteering to put up lights on the side of the house, go to the local tree farm and cut down a tree while sipping hot cider and singing carols, and that I be a bit more full of Holiday cheer or at least help bake cookies.  Instead, I have a tendency to act more depressed than happy.  I don’t help send out Christmas cards, in fact I don’t even open the ones that arrive in our mail.  I don’t think this makes me a bad person, but I probably wouldn’t want to be around me at Christmas time and I imagine it’s not fun for my family.  Most years I try to act a little jollier, but I haven’t this year.  In fact, I’ve been more or less Grinchlike.  

This all makes me feel personally responsible for this “war on Christmas” thing.  I’m not a right wing Republican and I’m not personally Christian.  I imagine that I must be the very sort of person John Gibson had in mind in his complaint that in the name of tolerance we are destroying Christmas by secularizing it and thus weakening the fabric of American society.  If you keep going with this logic, Al Qaeda is likely to catch some public official saying Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas and take this as a sign that Christian faith in an America hobbled by the First Amendment is not as strong as Islamic Fundamentalist faith in soon to be Islamic Republics where the US can pay for its press as part of a military strategy.  

I do have to report that even though I spent some time as a card carrying member of the ACLU, I even had an internship there when I was in high school, I have never been personally invited to plotting sessions against Christmas.  I’m very disappointed in this, in that I’ve always wanted to be an “A” list liberal and to be included in such parties.  Apparently, A list liberals gather together to the beat of obscene subversive hip hop music, dine on non-genetically enhanced vegetarian or even French food, dress up like Michael Moore, and figure out ways to celebrate the deaths of American soldiers with Quakers, disable the Federal government from stopping terrorists, whisper sweet nothings in Patrick Fitzgerald’s ear, and plot the downfall of the United States.  Even if I’m not on the list for invitations, I should at least be on their listserv.  Perhaps has some sort of “Easter Egg” feature on their website and no one’s sharing the key combinations with me.  

Christmas:   Is a Christian celebration to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  Many scholars believe that Christ was born in the Spring, not the middle of winter and that he was likely born a few years B.C. (if you can wrap your mind around that paradox).  The Romans, who eventually became officially Christian and according to the DaVinci Code rewrote the gospels, apparently felt in the 4th century A.D. that it would be a good idea to better celebrate Christ’s birthday on the traditional holiday of the Saturninus Festival which may have coincided with the traditional winter solstice.  They’d just made the change to the Julian Calendar in 46 B.C. and likely didn’t want to further confuse matters.  This means that in addition to all the other things the Romans invented like good roads, aqueducts, personal boxes in the Coliseum to watch Monday Night Gladiators, the Romans also came up with observing Washington’s birthday on the nearest Monday etc.  

The Romans celebrated Saturninus by feasting, postponing business and warfare, exchanging gifts, and temporarily freeing their slaves.  They even had a custom of choosing one slave to be master of the household as a ceremonial kind of thing for one day.  Mmmmm.  There was also later a festival for Sol Invictus, which had Persian origins,  that fell on the Winter solstice.  Apparently after Constantine died, the ever efficient Romans didn’t want to waste all those Sol Invictus gift wrappings, decorations, and department store window displays of Sol Invictus Claus on his chariot loaded with gifts like Charlton Heston and Russell Crowe DVDs led by Rudolphus the red nosed elephant captured in the Punic Wars.    

What isn’t clear is whether or not the Post-Constantinian Romans immediately started saying “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Invictus or Saturninus festival”?  The Roman’s failure to enact laws requiring its citizens to say Merry Christmas instead of “Have an awesome Saturninus festival Doodi and Doodeae” likely served as a significant factor in the fall of the Empire.  The Romans also lacked anything like the Fox Network to protect the integrity of the Holiday and thus ensure the safety of their empire from the Gracchi and their political progeny.  

According to Theobertarians, Christmas is the most significant retail celebration of the year.  After 9/11 the President urged Americans to respond to the tragedy by shopping more and not losing “faith” in the economy.  Bill O’reilly refers to his fondest Christmas memories having to do with anticipating the gifts under the Christmas tree, customs which I suspect are made more explicit in some of the gospels that were more popular prior to the Council of Nicaea.  If you actually read the surviving Gospels one might even come to the very odd conclusion that the really important Christian holiday should actually be Easter, about which Theobertarians never complain.  You want to be upset about something, how about having schools call what was once Easter vacation “Ski Week”? And about this Easter Bunny thing, talk about triviliazing the significance of a religious holiday with an Easter Egg hunt on the White House lawn, shouldn’t W be praying instead?  
And then not having any days off around the actual Easter, lent, good Friday, etc.
Theobertarians , however, consider Christmas the more important holiday because it potentially combines commerce and Christianity and doesn’t involve “giving things up” and all that downer stuff associated with Easter.  After all, one of the biggest pre-lent Easter celebrations in America was traditionally, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and you know what the Theobertarians said about New Orleans and sin.  

This explains why most of their complaints about the “secularization of Christmas” have nothing to do with anything that’s actually in the Bible since the Bible doesn’t ever really talk about Christmas or how to celebrate it say in the way that Muslims observe Ramadan. In any case, you’d think they’d be complaining about aspects of Christmas that had something genuinely Christian about them.

For whatever reason, they seem to be most offended by those things that have about as much connection to the gospels and the early church as say Kwaanza has to Africa. (for those who don't know Kwaanza was conceptualized by a professor at Cal State Los Angeles) Okay, before I move on to my big scoop here, though, I’ve always been confused by this immaculate conception business.  First God promulgates a commandment about adultery, then the Holy Spirit knocks Joseph’s wife up.  Second, if you’re going to make such a big deal about immaculate conception and divine intervention, what about all those instances of divine contraception in the Old Testament where God keeps making non-believers barren for various reasons.  I’m not talking Roe v. Wade here, just wondering about all this Immaculate contraception and what it means.  

Okay, I know that Dictionaries don’t normally include anecdotes, but here’s my story….see part 2 National Strategy to Win the War Against Christmas….


At 12/17/2005 08:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we were faithful to the Founder, -- original constructionists -- we'd say something more like Buon Natale or Kala Hristoygenna, tho as you say Christmas is never mentioned in the Bibble.

If JC had said anything about a birthday party, (he'd be getting a tad long in the tooth 'cause he never died) -- presumably he'd be chilly to the moneychangers version of Christmas and have us all out feeding the poor tho not just on Christmas either -- 'the least among us' was a big theme with Jesus, not the have-mosts should have yet more.

At 12/19/2005 02:30:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

It is harder for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.

I think is the phrase.


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