Thursday, December 15, 2005

The "True" Meaning of Christmas.

While Christmas is traditionally associated with the notion of peace – probably why even in 1914 during WWI, some German and allied soldiers made a 3 day-truce to celebrate it – in the US, it is strangely used for war.

This cultural war is led by FoxNews anchors John Gibson and Bill O’Reilly as well a right-wing fundamentalists christians like Jerry Falwell who claim there is a liberal conspiracy to rid Christmas of its “Christian meaning” (also read here and here).

So now, wishing “Happy holiday” instead of “Merry Christmas” becomes politically charged. (read this great piece by Wonkette on how Christians are being “persecuted” in the
US!)

In the meantime, some other Christians are taking a fight definitely worthy of the spirit of Christmas (or at least of Christ, which seems even more important for Christians) as you can read in this Washington Post article:

Leaders of five denominations -- the United Methodist Church, Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church USA and United Church of Christ -- issued a joint statement last week calling on Congress to go back to the drawing board and come up with a budget that brings "good news to the poor."

In other words, those Christians ask for a moral budget which does not cut food stamps for poor people for instance. And guess what? There were no conservative Christian leaders among them. No James Dobson. No Pat Robertson and no Jerry Falwell. Conservative Christian groups respond that it is a matter of “priorities” [i.e. by priorities they mean abortion, same-sex marriage and seating judges who will back their position against those practices]. (for more on the American Christian Right, go here)

So basically their priority is to have political influence. Fighting homosexuals is more important than helping the poor, and helping the un-born poor is more important that the actual (full grown) poor who may be cold and hungry on Christmas eve.

Some priorities indeed! I have yet to find them in the bible!

And by the way… did Jesus say anything about celebrating his birth? We now all know that Christmas was not celebrated before the 4th century anyway (when Pope Julius I set that date as an attempt to Christianize Pagan celebrations) and so Jesus was not even born on December 25th.

It is also ironic to remember that the Puritans thought that “Christmas was too strongly linked to the Pagan Roman festival and were opposed to all celebration of it” (here). If there should be one Christian Holy Day, it is Easter, not Christmas.

So let’s keep all the pagan stuff that comes with Christmas - the tree, the presents and Santa Claus - so that the kids can have some fun, and marvel just like when they watch Narnia (or even The March of the Penguin) when they wake up in the morning….

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