We are all familiar with the culture war, the unending and highly political “War on Christmas.” Well, then I am going to spend some time “breaking down” what words were supposed to mean.
- Christ. It actually meant, as a title, the anointed or baptized. Which is no doubt why the Apostle Paul always referred to Jesus as: Christ Jesus. The baptized or anointed Jesus.
Some hundreds of years after Jesus was crucified on the cross, Christians (being baptized into the faith, i assume), wanted to celebrate something about Jesus, at about the same time that pagans were celebrating the Solstice. All well and good. But it was originally called a mass for Christ. (A mass for the anointed one.) But, the New Testament was replete enough with references to Christ, that there would be no confusion about whom the mass was intended for. Much latter it would be shortened to “Christmas.” Much later still, Christians would assume that this “mass” was a celebration of Jesus’ birthday. It actually was not originally intended as such.
- “Christmas tree.” From what I understand, the pagan Germans celebrated their version of the Solstice by cutting down evergreen trees. They would haul such trees to their homes, set them up, in order to remind themselves that spring would eventually return.
That is, until some Roman Catholic Priest came along, and told the pagan Germans that their Yule tree was “proof” of Jesus Christ. Since that time, the Yule tree has been referred to as the (get this—mass for the baptized one) tree. Sounds hilarious, doesn’t it? It also sounds like quite a mouthful. The problem with that particular Roman Catholic Priest in wanting to (ahem) “baptize” a pagan tree, is this: Jesus would have adhered to Old Testament prohibitions about the use of trees in this fashion. The only holy day decorations he would have felt comfortable with, would have included a Menorah in the window. The German Yule Tree wasn’t “proof” of anything pertaining to Jesus. But it was proof that the church wanted to convert pagans very badly indeed.
- No, we don’t want to display a giant Menorah, next to a lot of decorated Solstice trees; at the SeaTac international airport.
I still remember rolling my eyes over just how dumb this all was. And very much in the “spirit of the season,” Christians chose to forget the “Judeo” part of their history, and simply attacked the Rabbi for wanting to display the Menorah. Well, the powers that be at SeaTac, didn’t want to have to display the Menorah. So, they took down the decorated Solstice trees. Then with the subsequent “outrage,” they put the Solstice trees back up. And continued to refuse to display that Rabbi’s Menorah. A nice war over symbols. How about a reminder that Jesus said: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Further, in a country that is as religiously diverse as this one happens to be, what was the problem with displaying the Rabbi’s Menorah?
- An individual writing at Slate.com wondered why “we” continue to portray a white Santa Claus? Tongue in cheek, couldn’t Santa Claus be replaced with a penguin?
Santa Claus is based on Saint Nicholas. And what I recall of the fellow; he was a priest, who gave gifts of dowries to poor women, so that they would have better prospects of marriage. Nothing wrong with that. Being charitable is part of the New Testament tradition. The fictionalized Santa Claus carries on the same tradition of charity. The gifts are different and they are also mostly marketed to young people. If anything, Santa Claus is more in the tradition of what the season should be about. Charitable works “in the name of Jesus,” would be more in keeping with what “He” would have wanted, than these silly brawls over symbols.
There is also a “but,” in all of this. Santa Claus, the fictionalized name sake of the actual priest, has also been repeatedly attacked. A symbol of charity,and an actual charitable individual in his lifetime, has been politically demonized by the Christians themselves. When it is politically expedient to do so, Christians today do a lot of that. Santa is only a different word for Saint. Claus is the shorthand version of Nicholas.
- Seasons Greetings, Happy Holidays; is replacing Merry Christmas.
Between Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve, there are quite a few holidays. In the spirit of being “Christ-like,” how about simply adhering to Jesus’ teachings, and quit whining about the choice of seasonal greetings. Seasons Greetings has been around a long time, ever since I was a kid. It wasn’t until the Christians wanted to start up this “War on (mass for the anointed one),” within the last few years that I could then hear, how Seasons Greetings and Happy Holidays was somehow crowding out Merry Christmas. The real argument that I was actually hearing: engaging in some hyped up tirade over words, in order to actually tell people; 1. Who don’t celebrate any holidays. 2. Who aren’t Christian. How much they aren’t welcome in this country. Even further, wanting to get all upset that the Solstice tree, wasn’t being given its proper “Christmas” identification.
I’d suggest giving Toys for Tots and being a Santa Claus in your own right. I’d also suggest giving to the area food banks, for those most in need at this time of the year. I’d even suggest adding to the Salvation Army red kettles. Do that instead of making yourself a public fool, as “Megan” had on Fox News recently.