And now for something completely different.
Let us wander back a bit.
It is the year 340AD, we are in The Bishop of Rome’s Residence. In the private office of Pope Julius I a lackey approaches the man writing at the desk. Pope Julius I, like all good business men, had decided there was an opportunity being missed.
Lackey: Excuse me, Your Holiness, but you asked me to remind you about the Nativity issue.
Julius: Oh yes, the date.
Julius covers his eyes and jabs at the calendar on his desk with his index finger.
Julius: 25th of December, how does that fit in?
Lackey consults his papers: That is the Pagan Mid- Winter Festival Your Holiness.
Julius: Bonus Points! Another one bites the dust.
Lackey: Your Holiness, Isn’t that also around the Feast Day of St Nicholas of Turkey?
Julius: Yes I believe it is. Even better, we have a Mascot for the event.
And so it was that St Nicholas, patron saint of boys, sailors and unmarried girls (is it just me or is that a bit suspect?), aka Sinter Klass, aka Santa Claus like all good mascots became as important, if not more so than the superstar team he was supporting.
And they all lived happily ever after and made lots of money, corrupted millions, destroyed lives all in the name of religion and greed.
Bit harsh you say? No not at all. The above scene is based on Vatican History. Don’t get me wrong, I love the diversity of humanity’s many faiths. I can spend hours reading about the many Gods, Prophets, and Deities mankind prays to. I weep with joy at the peace others find in their devotions. I just don’t feel the need to partake of any myself. If pressed I would probably call myself a Humanist crossed with a good old fashioned Pagan, but I can’t stand being pigeonholed.
Its Christmas time again and I have the worst case of Bah Humbug yet. Tis the season to be jolly! Why can’t you be jolly the other fifty odd weeks of the year? Peace on earth and goodwill to all men! Why isn’t this the normal way to exist? Can’t we be joyful, charitable and loving all year? Are our attention spans so short? Are our hearts so small and brittle? The hypocrisy of it all drives me spare.
It’s the whole seasonal sideshow that irks me and every year it’s starting earlier. The stores have been full of tinsel and toys since August. The sounds of Northern Hemisphere Christmas Carols and Sleigh Bells haunt my every step. ( It’s bloody 40 degrees Celsius outside people ), The TV runs a loop reel of Great Deals 24/7 and if I get one more Christmas Sale Brochure in my letterbox I will gleefully skewer the Postman.
I, under protest, attend end of year work parties where before the drunken groping and fights begin, vain and stupid adults complain (read brag), about how much money they had to spend on their little Johnny for Christmas. I’m sorry, but on what planet do you spend $1,000.00 plus on your brat of a child? Oh he had to have the latest Apple Appliance because all his friends have one and he has to fit in. Your child knows you are gullible morons and is playing you for all he is worth.
Then there is the Political Correctness of Happy Holidays. To quote author Zig Zag Claybourne who says it far more eloquently than I can :
Folks get bent out of shape every year around this time about people saying “Happy Holidays!” Happy Holidays ain’t anti-Christmas. I don’t think Christmas has anything to worry about. As a holiday, I’m pretty sure it’s caught on. Be cool. It’s not even political correctness (which, when I find who coined that annoying bit of fearful drivel, I—-completely against the spirit of peace and good will—-will smack him or her hard enough to release their DNA); “Happy Holidays” just sounds a lot better than “Happy Kwanzmakah!”
All I am saying is wake up people. We need to start loving and caring for each other 365 days of the year, not just when the multi-nationals tell us to. Not just because it’s in scripture. But because we are all in this together and some of us need a bit of help to have a chance at happiness. Instead of spending that extra $100 on cheap schlock at the checkout, go online and donate to World Vision, Medicins Sans Frontiers or whatever charity tugs at your heart. But don’t just do it once, do it all year every year. Give some food or your time to your local shelters. Smile and talk to a stranger, you may be the only human they interact with that day. It’s not much and the backwash of joy is like manna.
Have quality time with your friends or family however you choose to celebrate. Do it through- out the year, not just in December. Give them all an extra hug and smile this year, and tell them that you love them and really mean it when you say it. I know that families can be a trial, but accept we are all flawed beings and if it’s possible make it happen.
My love, blessings and best wishes to all of you.
Christmas is not a time or a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.
Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn’t come from a store.
My thanks to Zig Zag Claybourne for allowing me to share his wisdom.
By Leanne Ellis.