Welcome to the annual Christmas party! Help yourself to a hot buttered rum. Mind the big bowls of popcorn; we’ll be needing those later.
Now, before we begin our annual holiday festivities, there are a couple inveterate party poopers in attendance that I’m just going to have to address.
First, we have the omnipresent Smug Anti-Theist who thinks they’re getting off a good one by pointing out that a lot of Christmas traditions come from earlier pagan celebrations. I’m not talking about people who point out things like that because they think it’s a fun historical fact; I think it’s a fun historical fact too. I’m talking about the tiresome people who honestly believe they’ve disproved Christianity because Saturnalia exists. To which I reply: Yeah duh. We’re Christians. That’s what we do. We baptize pagans. We also take elements of all the many cultures we come from and cast new meaning on them in the light of the Gospel. We baptize yule logs, mistletoe, candles, pine trees. We baptize the name “Brigid.” We baptize temples and make them churches. We baptize special times of year. We baptize goddess imagery and use it differently to illustrate truths about the Virgin Mary. We baptize calling God “Pantocrator.” We baptize everything. Want me to baptize you? Christians aren’t threatened by Saturnalia.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s move on to our fellow Christians. There is a certain type of Christian Christmas party pooper who likes to grump at people who are touched by the Holy Family’s poverty and helplessness in the infancy narrative this time of year. You know the type. People who post op eds or preach sermons about the Holy Family not REALLY being poor or not REALLY being refugees. People who assure us that Mary wasn’t anything like today’s single mothers or that Joseph wasn’t the same as an immigrant dad taking his children to safety. They want to keep Jesus, Mary and Joseph up on a pedestal lest anybody sully them by pointing out that they were humans and can teach us something about the inconvenient humans we encounter in our day to day life. And they are wrong. They are so wrong it’s ludicrous.
If they say “Jesus wasn’t really a foster kid” throw popcorn and disregard it.
If they say “The Holy Family wasn’t really poor” throw popcorn.
If they say “The Three Kings weren’t really a sign that God wishes to manifest Himself to everyone including scary brown people who have a different religion to us” throw popcorn.
If they repeat any version of “The Gospel doesn’t really mean that we have to take care of poor people” throw popcorn.
If they say “‘The Son of God has nowhere to lay his head’ isn’t supposed to make you think of the plight of homeless people” dump the whole bowl over their heads and make them go stand outside.
Image via Pixabay
Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Way of the Cross and Stumbling into Grace: How We Meet God in Tiny Works of Mercy.
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