Christmas is Charles Dickens’ updated version of ancient pagan winter solstice feasting after the crops have been stored for the coming cold. The aforementioned first day of winter is the shortest day of the year.
“Since the event is seen as the reversal of the Sun’s ebbing presence in the sky, concepts of the birth or rebirth of sun gods have been common,” notes the ubiquitous Wikipedia.
Jesus as a recycled sun god? You betcha.
I have found mildly amusing the recent tempest in the moonhowler crackpot, complaining about the label “holiday tree” when the Christmas tree itself is a hangover of non-Christian beliefs.
Reminds me of an oft-repeated story I learned back at Fresno State.
The Spanish conquistadores brought holy men to civilize the savages who remained after the initial slaughter, rape and pillage.
Rather than start from scratch, the anointed of God found it much simpler to put new labels on existing superstitious practices. And so the fertility goddess of the native Andean peoples became the Blessed Virgin Mary without missing a beat.
Despite all our vaunted scientific and sociological advances, we remain a world of warring tribes, which goes a long way toward explaining our violent primal proclivities.
As some of us succumb to the siren song of football over the next several weeks, take a moment to view the battles of our latter day gladiators as merely updated pagan tribal rituals draped in logos and commercials.
Mankind is a barely post-pubescent species among which the United States stands as its scarily most powerful pre-adolescent manifestation: the equivalent of a 13-year-old with nuclear weapons who has not outgrown the tribal taboos.
Don’t look for civilization at an Oakland Raiders game.
Don’t try to point out the absurdity of an anti-semitic klansman who worships a Jew as his god and savior.
The late Oscar-winning actor Rod Steiger once wrote a short story set under the moving letterboard above New York City’s Times Square.
One day, the electric sign miraculously began flashing a single message: “God returns to earth at noon next Friday.”
“You couldn’t get near the place,” Steiger later said.
Promptly at 12 noon, a huge black whale appeared on the building atop the dancing letters.
“I am the Lord, your God. Bow down and worship me,” came a voice from the sky.
Stone silence from the multitude. Then a murmur. Soon, stones and pop bottles were hurled upward.
“I am the Lord, your God. Bow down and worship me.”
The mob got ropes and tried to pull the whale down to street level. God finally nuked the place.
Moral: Man will accept no god not made unto man’s image and likeness.
Wish your tribe Happy High Holly Days.
Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Be well. Raise hell.