The Annual [Christ] Mass Blog
So here we are again, Christmas time (actually it’s been “Christmas time” since about 10 seconds after the Jack O’Lanterns hit the porch) and it’s time to celebrate the birth of Jesus by rampaging through Wal-Mart looking for the perfect gift. Let me get one thing straight right now: I am not what most people would refer to as a “Good Little Christian.”
My Bibles (I own four) share shelf space with The Koran, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, The “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” Companion Book, and “How To Catch Trout” (plus another 800 or so titles I won’t bother to list here).
I don’t say this to be glib. I have never prayed to anyone (except the first time I laid eyes on a Lamborghini Diablo VT Roadster), I haven’t been to church in decades, and I don’t believe in a God, but I still manage to view Jesus as being a pretty amazing person. Jesus doesn’t need to be the son of a phantom landlord for us to appreciate Him (I keep the capital “H” out of convention, not conviction). He was a visionary, mortal, fictional, or otherwise. But no one made Martin Luther King Jr. a god, and neither Lech Walesa nor Vaclav Havel have ascended as far as I know.
Yet these men could also be credited with leading their people to the Promised Land. Lech Walesa never walked on water, but prying Poland and her people from the grip of Soviet Communism is a modern miracle indeed.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, is derivative of The Sermon on the Mount, and more potent. Nobody really believes that the first shall be last anymore but most of us agree that stringing Black people up in trees isn’t a terribly good idea.
The point here is if we spent less time preaching the Bible and a bit more time actually reading it, we might be able to revert this whole ridiculous thing into a birthday bash again. One problem though, the more you read the more you learn. However, though the times have changed, people haven’t. Imagine this conversation taking place between a man and a woman, anywhere, anywhen…
Mary: Hi there.Jospeh: Hello.Mary: I’m a virgin.Joseph: Really? You’re um… pregnant.Mary: Yeah, I know. It’s God’s. I’ve been calling him but…Joseph: So, you want to get married?And scene…
Also, while we’re on the subject of fact– Jesus could not have been born on December 25th. Flip over to Luke 2:8, and you’ll see that the shepherds were “keeping watch over their flocks at night.” Anyone who is an expert on Middle Eastern farming and agriculture (which I am not, just so you know) could tell you that this little blurb means that Jesus was born sometime between April and September.
The 25th was co-opted by Popes to steal the thunder of Saturnalia festivities that dated back to Ancient Rome. Other possible explanations for December include the belief that because He was the son of God, He had to have been conceived on the Spring Equinox. What, if any, logic is behind this, I don’t know. Let’s not forget people also thoughts their gods were serial rapists. It is also because of Saturnalia and other “pagan” fertility rites that we have Christmas dinner, Christmas trees, Christmas presents, Yule logs, and mistletoe… and “mummers”. WTF?
And (and this is a BIG and), ever see a picture on TV of all those terrorists the Americans keep not finding? You want to know what part of the world they come from? Yup, that’s right… Jesus was not white. Some might point to centuries of artistic depiction as evidence, but a million Elvis fans could be wrong. Besides, Botticelli and the boys never met Jesus! An artist’s depiction is what you get on the TV news when nobody took a picture. So what if he wasn’t white? I’m sure we’re all grown up enough to get past that one together. If you can’t, go back and read the book.
So what are we to do with an Arabic Jesus who wasn’t born on December 25th?
For starters we could all lay off the Revelation of St. John for a while and try to think about being nice to people or not punching thy brother in the neck for taking the last Sponge Bob Square Pants interactive action figure.
I’m not saying we should stop buying toys or anything crazy like that. I just think that “Peace on Earth and Goodwill to ALL Men” is a pretty neat idea (not Jesus’ gospel of course, but it’ll do in a pinch) and might serve us well all year round. He would have wanted it that way. We all know how Jesus lost his cool at the Temple; can you imagine Him at the Mall?
Picture Jesus surrounded by a bunch of hectic shoppers, all of whom look as though if they had to spend one more hour shopping they’d wish it had been Santa Claus that was beaten, dragged through the streets, and crucified by Longinus and his Legion. I don’t imagine He’d enjoy it very much.
I imagine He’d want to know why we needed holidays to be thankful or think of our fellow Earth-ridden Mortal Compatriots. So this Christmas, be nice to people. And then on Boxing Day, keep doing it.
Just remember: Messing with his birthday is one thing but God help us all if He ever comes across an Easter Egg hunt…BSC.
This pic has nothing to do with Christmas but I saw it on INSURGENCY INC. the other day and just had to repost it.