It’s time for Christians to stop griping and moaning about the commercialization and secularization of Christmas. For years I’ve endured rants and whines about how society has “taken Christ out of Christmas” and “no one knows what the season is really about anymore.” Both those statements are a load of reindeer droppings.It’s time to face facts and get the record straight.
First of all, “church going folk” need to understand how impossible it is to take “Christ” out of “Christmas.” Christ is not a name; it is a title. Jesus of Nazareth’s last name wasn’t “Christ.” He didn’t even have a last name unless it was bar-Joseph since He was supposed to be Joseph’s son. The title “Christ” means “the one who saves” and “Christmas” is a Latin contraction of sorts roughly translating to “Celebration of the one who saves!” With that in mind, Christ is just as much a part of Christmas as ever. Christians are just incensed it’s not the Christ THEY want celebrated. A Christ is celebrated from mid-October right through December 25, which brings me to my second statement.
EVERYONE knows EXACTLY what the season is really about and they are celebrating it like it’s 1999, to quote Prince. Here in America, Christmas is about one thing — SPENDING MONEY! That’s right! The Christ being celebrated for the entire last quarter of the year is America’s Savior, the Almighty Dollar. Jesus hasn’t been dropped from the holiday; He’s just been relegated to what is deemed His proper place in our society — Church, and then only on Sunday.
Just look at where Christmas is celebrated. Both China and Japan have huge Christmas seasons and neither one of those countries is even remotely Christian. China is officially atheist and Japan, if they are anything, are Shintoist with a good does of Buddhists. India has held on to some of the traditions left by their former British Empirical rulers by celebrating Christmas even though the country is overwhelmingly Hindu.
Face it, Christmas hasn’t ever really been a pure Christian holiday anyway. No Scriptural evidence points to Jesus’ birth being in December (or whatever the Jews called December). A bunch of Christian missionaries decided they wanted to find a way to get more pagans to convert to their new religion and since everyone likes a holiday and parties, they co-opted several of the pagan’s holidays and put a Christian whitewash on them. Almost everything about the traditional celebration of Christmas has a pagan origin. December 25th was originally part of the Roman Feast of Saturnalia which just so happened to include gift giving and parties.
Christmas trees are as pagan as Thor’s hammer. They call back to the Druidic, Germanic,and Viking celebrations of Yule or Midwinter’s Day when the Winter Solstice finally passed and the days started getting a little longer in those cold northern climes. It’s the same with the lights and candles. They have pagan overtones, too. Oh, and long before jolly old Saint Nicholas of Turkey became famous for delivering presents around the Christmas holidays, the god Woden would visit the faithful and bless all good men. Mistletoe, the bough under which couples try to stop, is STILL the most sacred plant to those who follow the Druidic customs and religions today. Of course, I’m not suggesting we do away with Christmas like some dour, bitter old Puritan. I just think Christians need to realize we stole all those customs from the ancient pagans and now the modern pagans have taken them back. Isn’t that fair? Aren’t we supposed to be all about “fairness” these days?
I realize, however, we need to make some changes to reflect the new Christ the world — especially America — worships now at Christmas. I think the best place to start is the classic nativity scene. Sure, we can keep the nativity in Pagan Christmas. Instead of a creche representing a barn, it’ll be a miniature storefront and instead of a star on the peak it’ll be a neon sign flashing Wal-mart, Target, or Costco. We’ll take out Joseph and replace him with Warren Buffett or maybe Bill Gates. Mary can ONLY be replaced by America’s greatest current spiritual advisor — Oprah Winfrey, but if one can’t find a suitable figurine of her, just substitute Angelina Jolie since so many people look up to her. Of course, with same-sex marriage and rights being so vital to our society, one may want to skip the lady characters altogether and have Bill and Warren.
The wise men will still come from the East. Some of them will ride with Deepak Chopra or Shirley Maclain, but most will arrive in traditional middle eastern garb from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, and Qatar. Instead of camels, they’ll be in their oil-wealth bought luxury Mercedes and Rolls Royces. Both groups will represent oil interests with the latter being crude oil and the former being of the snake variety.
We’ll need shepherds and who are more like shepherds today than our slew of pundits and talking heads? We’ll need miniatures of Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilley, and Rush Limbaugh . . . that last one may be hard to find in “miniature.” They’ll be on one side of the creche with the rest of the Fox News clan while the other side will be balanced out by a group of poll-watchers from MSNBC. We’ll have a few angels even. Put some wings on Mariah Carey, Taylor Swift, and Miley Cyrus and let them flit around. They angelic chorus can be the Victoria’s Secret Angels since they seem to already know the part.
Finally, we’ll have to have some livestock, and I suppose that’ll be us. After all, we’re the sheep who follow these people. Like cattle we line up in front of stores Thanksgiving Night and prepare to shop til we drop instead of waiting until Black Friday like our ancestors were wont to do. It’s only when those cash registers and credit card machines start ringing and dinging that the real sounds of the season take to the air!
Now some of the quicker ones in the crowd may have noticed I left out a key figurine from the new nativity scene. Who do we put in the manger? I thought about that for awhile. At first, I thought a stack of $100 bills might be the best representation of our new savior. I pondered maybe a smartphone with several shopping apps open and promising great deals, but finally, I decided to leave the manger empty. After all, that’s what we’re really worshiping in our praise of the Almighty Dollar — emptiness. So rather than force the issue, let’s leave the manger empty, just like our hearts tend to be all throughout this new pagan Christmas season!
Love y’all . . . really. Now keep those feet clean.