Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

I mean no disrespect

It’s that awkward time of year again. Not that long ago, we wished each other Merry Christmas, or perhaps Happy Hanukah or Kwanza.

Schools had Christmas concerts and vacations. There were lots of manger scenes in public places and no one thought much about it.

Somewhere along the way, the political correctness movement arrived and now we’re so afraid of offending some nameless person, that we mumble meaningless gibberish like happy holidays or season’s greetings. Those catch phrases have become knee jerk faux manners, often with as much sincerity as the air kisses politicians and celebrities aim at each other.

Generic well wishes should offend everyone regardless of how, or if, they mark the season.

One of America’s strengths is that we are a melting pot of cultures, a mongrel race thriving with hybrid vigor. For the most part, we’ve learned to live side by side with people who do things differently than we do with mutual respect.

Unlike Northern Ireland or the Balkans, for instance, we don’t kill people who practice different religions, or no religion at all. Our military has chaplains for many faiths. Al Qaeda probably has no Christian or Jewish chaplains.

For all of our pretended sophistication, at heart we’re primitives worried that the sun will disappear as the days grow shorter regardless of the global warming nonsense.

The dark days of the year touch something primordial in our beings. We need to celebrate and praise a higher power as the days begin to lengthen by minutes. What better excuse than to celebrate the birth of a savior?

Our modern Christmas culture is an amalgam of customs. The inclusion of pagan practices into Christian ritual is perhaps the most effective marketing campaign of all times.

Mistletoe, for instance, was sacred to the Druids who ruled the forests of Britain before the Romans arrived. (Rumor has it that there are some Druids in the Gum Spring/Sandy Hook part of Goochland County who harvest and sell local mistletoe in December.)

Christians adopted mistletoe when converts refused to abandon its use. There is something miraculous about a plant that grows green and flourishes at the top of dormant oak trees in the dead of winter.

Science tells us that mistletoe is a parasitic plant whose roots creep beneath the tree bark to steal nourishment. Its seeds are planted by birds who eat the berries and rub a sticky binder off of their beaks while sitting in the tree tops. Not all that mysterious, but why go to all that trouble for a plant?

Perhaps that is God’s way of planting seeds of belief in powers far greater than man’s intellect. As we grew more sophisticated, we held to our beliefs because, well, there’s no rational explanation for the existence of something like mistletoe.

Once they decided to end the ban on Mistletoe, the early Christians adopted it in a big way. Some even contended that the true cross was made out of mistletoe wood.

A hearty Merry Christmas is the ultimate love bomb. Why are people offended when someone wishes them, literally, everything that is goodness, peace, redemption and hope? Hold fast to this traditional greeting and make sure it lasts throughout the 21st century.

Merry Christmas to all!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well we can all be Christians for a week at least. (Till we open the presents).