There is literally nothing more asinine and ridiculous than the yearly cultural hissy fit thrown by Evangelical Christians in the run up to Christmas. Starbucks cups are protested for having penguins and snowflakes instead of the King of Kings. People get their underwear in a twist if the preferred greeting is not issued and refuse to realize other cultures have holidays that are different at the same time of year, and Fox News declares it’s a war on Christmas by atheist secular humanists in the service of Satan.
Into this melee trots the untransformed The Transformed Wife Lori Alexander with the weirdest twist of all. Her piece “Christmas Was Not Originally A Pagan Holiday.” She claims that Christmas has zero roots in anything but Christ. None of those dirty dirty Pagans, no Roman roots. just Jesus and Chester’s nuts, oooops!, chestnuts roasting on an open fire.
I am sorry, but Evangelicals verklempting over Christmas brings on the full sarcasm mode in me. That and the (NSFW) “Christmas Shoes” brings out my inner Grinch/Lenny Bruce. Every time they play that song on the radio I feel my heart shrinking three sizes.
I love the holidays too, but I don’t love the politicized lying that accompanies the holiday.
Lori introduced this topic, like others she’s toying with, in the rancid roach nest of a secret chatroom she maintains on Facebook. It made for a pretty funny scenario because people immediately started fighting over the silliest things. People started hurtling insults at Lori because she does not condemn eating ham (pork products) and all sorts of stupidity. Lori started deleting comments left and right from people disagreeing with her assertions that the idea of paganism has had nothing to do with Christmas. It was comedy gold, but Lori was moving so fast on the delete button I got no screen caps.
How is it even possible to make it all the way through college, receive a degree and be so completely ignorant?
Christianity has traditionally taken over other holidays, songs, traditions from all sorts of other religions, belief systems, barroom songs, symbols, rituals, decorations and everything else. It’s been explored again and again, and to say it’s not real strikes one as head in the sand ostrich behavior.
John Wesley and others took common popular songs from the taverns and barrooms, added Christian lyrics to accommodate the people of the streets they were attempting to reach. This is something that the church has always done to reach the unsaved, to bring in some element of familiarity to make the experience more comfortable, relatable and enjoyable. The church still does this, why else would Christian rock and roll exist?
I love this quote from historian Kenneth C. Davis – “Christmas is really about bringing out your inner pagan,”
Why would he say that? Because Saturnalia predates Christianity, Christ and Sol Invictus by quite a long number of years, hundreds actually, a good half century before Christ.
Is it really bad that we’ve incorporated other traditions into our celebration of Christmas? I personally do not think so, because in Christianity the tent should be big enough to accommodate many people and traditions. Providing easily understood cultural touchstones can be important. The early church understood this, even up until parts of last century this was understood. And then along comes Lori Alexander and her ilk, making it an ever tightening circle of exclusion, a tiny little circle jerk of small minds tossing hate at everyone else who has even slightly different thoughts from them.
Enjoy your holiday season folks, no matter how or what you celebrate! I’ll just be over here watching “Christmas Vacation” while making cookies and cocoa.
I am reminded anew about the place I worked for some years that was so worried about being political correct I got in trouble for putting a Mexican Christmas ornament on my desk. It was a tiny fake frog dressed up like Santa piloting a sleigh being pulled by tiny wooden bugs with wiggling jointed legs. It was cute, but the day I put it out a memo was issued stating that only generic holiday ornaments could be displayed. Someone decided my Santa was too over the top.
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