Things that Go BUMP in my Mind

Knitting, stitching, reading, gardening, cooking--I have no time for any of it.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Just for the record...

I really should know better than to read blog comments concerning Christianity, particularly around Christmas time. It just makes me grumpy, and that's hardly the spirit of Christmas, is it?

But see, I was kind of grumpy anyway, what with being cooped up in the house with no power for four days, followed by going into work on the first day of my vacation, and my children being ... how children tend to be during the week before Christmas. So I dove in and read some comments that related to a post on the Yarn Harlot's blog (link in sidebar--in addition to being grumpy, I'm being lazy). Stephanie is spot-on in her comments about the people behind her. My knickers are in a twist about a couple of things I saw in the comments, which are the kinds of things you hear a lot this time of year. So, here I go, untwisting my knickers...

(1) "Jingle Bells" is not a Christmas carol. Yes, you hear it on the radio during the interminable "Christmas season" (beginning in late August these days), but listen to the lyrics some time. Not a single word about Christmas, presents, etc. It's a winter song, not a Christmas song. It is therefore entirely proper (and not a violation of church and state) for sweet little children to sing it during their public school holiday programs. I will stand right there with you if you want to protest "O Little Town of Bethlehem," but you lose me at Jingle Bells.

(2)Early Christians did not "steal" Christmas from the pagans. Seriously, if the early Christians had wanted to take over the pagan celebration of the solstice, don't you think they would have put the feast of the Nativity on the day they were trying to "steal?" Early Christians were many things, but stupid isn't one of them. (Well, some of them probably were. Every culture/group/tradition has its share of dim bulbs.) It's also worth noting that the Christian church (particularly the Orthodox and Catholic traditions) celebrate three births as major feast days: Christ, Mary, and John the Baptist. My point being that the celebration of Christ's nativity is not unique.

It is true that the early church encouraged (in varying degrees) former pagans to keep some of their rituals when they became Christians. That's where modern day Christians end up with evergreen boughs (although Christmas trees were an invention of German Christians, and are not pagan in origin). You will not, for example, find Christmas trees or evergreen boughs in any Orthodox church, or in most Orthodox homes outside the United States and Eastern Europe.

So, I'm really not sure what the problem is here. Pagans still celebrate the Solstice, and more power to them. Pagans who converted to Christianity celebrated Christ's birth instead, incorporating some of their traditions into the Christian celebration. I really don't see the problem, and more importantly, I don't see the theft.

(3) Easter is a pagan holiday. Well, you got me there. In my view, the manner in which Easter is celebrated in most of the world is far more pagan than Christian. Eggs and bunnies in particular, are not Christian, with one minor exception. Orthodox Christians dye eggs red at Pascha (Greek for "passover", a more accurate term for day in question) in commemoration about Mary Magdalene (I think) preaching to some muckety-muck about the resurrection. The contents of some eggs turned to blood in witness to the truth of what she was saying, and to this day eggs are dyed red in commemoration of this.

(4) Christians are oppressed because everyone has to say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." Fer cryin' out loud, get a grip. You are not being oppressed. If you want to know what oppression is like (for Christians or any other number of religions), there are several places in this world where you can experience it first-hand. The United States is not one of them (well, not for Christians, any way).

(5) "Here Comes Santa Claus" is the worst Christmas carol ever. EVER. Even worse than "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer," which I loathe with the fire of a thousand suns. The reason is the final line: "Let's give thanks to the Lord above/'Cause Santa Claus comes tonight." Read that again and let it sink in. Feel the depths of the ... shallowness of it (oops). Don't be thanking God for the gift of His Son. No, no, no! Thank God for Santa Claus--he's the one with the presents!!! What did that Jesus dude ever do for us anyway?

There. I feel better, and I really hope I haven't grumped up anybody else's day. I'll be back later in the week with the tale of our weekend in the dark and a few pictures of scarves.


  • At 9:40 PM, Blogger pattiblaine said…

    There there... Just to add fuel to your fire: Holiday is derived from Holy Day. :) You can Happy Holiday me all ya want! I'll just keep smilin'.

    Can't wait to hear about the dark weekend and see your scarves.

  • At 8:22 AM, Blogger Cat said…

    I'm right there with you - on every point Kirsten.

    Merry Christmas!

  • At 10:51 AM, Anonymous Judy said…

    We were in the dark for 2 1/2 days and it was awful. The kids were good sports for a little while, but then it got ug-lee! One of the guys I work with still doesn't have power.

    I'm with you on all counts, by the way. Christians who think they are persecuted here should be encouraged to take a little world journey...not even anyplace REALLY bad, just somewhere where Americans are disliked just because they are Americans. Happened to me when I was in college, and it's very enlightening!!

  • At 2:37 PM, Blogger Glenda said…

    I was listening to "Here Comes Santa Claus" the other day and actually paid attention to the words. I agree whole-heartedly. Very tacky.

  • At 9:56 AM, Blogger Stacey said…

    Don't worry, the oppression will come later on. Right now I think society in general would be happy just to get rid of all this "religious nonsense" so we can move on with our lives.

    I'm sure glad I was a child in the 70s. It seems we were far happier and more innocent then. I guess in reality we were just all too unenlightened and ignorant to know we could actually complain about our choir singing Christmas carols being in our school (or in the mall, for that matter), and we also didn't realize we could base our complaints on the 2nd Amendment. Isn't is nice how much we have changed!:)

    BTW, I'm with you on "Grandma Got Run Over" blah blah blah. Posititvely dreadful song! LOL

    Great blogpost.:)

  • At 9:59 AM, Blogger Stacey said…

    Sorry, I meant the 1st Amendment. I got my amendments mixed up...too much reading about the NRA I suppose.:p

    Merry Christmas!:)

  • At 8:28 AM, Blogger Sher said…

    Kirsten I agree with you wholeheartedly.

    I think this is why I have a hard time getting into Christmas as each year passes. We have commercialized it to death and taken all the joy out of it. I should say we have taken "Christ" out of Christmas and that is so sad. Next year I am not going to let the world get to me and just try to remember the reason we are celebrating at this time of year.

    Hugs to you and have a Merry Christmas!


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