And so this is Christmas ...
Time again to decorate trees, give and receive gifts and watch the MY SO-CALLED LIFE Christmas episode (see last year's blog). Merry Christmas to all! I've included a few pics of our iconic modern heroes celebrating the holidays.
I saw a sign on a local church that said JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON. But a lot of people who aren't Christians still honor the holidays. Christmas is really a secular holiday, and not because any atheists or agnostics have declared a "war on Christmas;" Christmas hasn't changed into a secular holiday ~ it always was. There are two big advantages in seeing it that way.
First, it is a celebration of a very real, non-mythological event, the Winter Solstice. It's the day (December 21 actually) that the Earth's orbit takes it farthest from the Sun. The Solstice has been celebrated since the dawn of time, not because it's the beginning of Winter or the coldest day of the year, but because it marks the end of our retreat from the Sun and the beginning of the end of the dark and cold. So that sign of the church is wrong: the season is the reason for the season; always has been and always will.
Second, we have a set of perfectly good secular myths in Santa Claus, Ebenezer Scrooge, the Grinch, Charlie Brown's Christmas tree, Frosty, Rudolph and all the rest. As I've said before, the best thing about these stories is that we love them, but we know they are not true. We don't hate, fight or discriminate over them. For a wonderful Christmas fable, watch
What Christmas means to most people, I think, is the spirit of sharing, of common humanity. We have that in common with the ancient pagans who huddled together in caves awaiting the end of Winter, and with everyone else. The seasons, represented by the Solstice, still affect us all and may so even more if environmental warnings are true. The caring, giving and sense of community are what's important about Christmas, certainly not whether you beleive in a holy man allegedly born this time of year. To divide over which myth to beleive in dishonors our distant ancestors and our brotherhood with each other. As Danielle complains in "So-Called Angels,"
"Why are we talking about religion? It's Christmas!"