Happy, uh… Merry, no… Joyous Solstice?

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There’s a bit of an uproar in society today about what to wish others during this, um, festive season. Merry Christmas is good for about 90% of people I suppose, Happy Hanukkah suffices for a good number of others, especially in urban areas. I refuse to consider Happy Kwanza until I can determine whether or not anyone besides the media celebrates this 1960s holiday. I think Muslims must have some holiday around this time so as not to feel left out. And then there is the joyous solstice. We all are slaves to the calendar so the shortest day of the year and the recovery of the sun for yet another half year seems a worthy celebration no matter one’s sensibilities.

I’m a little bemused by it all really. Especially the hardline Christian defense of Christmas. I understand it, and might somewhat support it, more because Christmas is indeed around, has a theme and it’s silly to try and deny what it is. Christmas is a federal holiday. If it shouldn’t be then folks need to go change that at the highest levels, not throw out Christmas carols from kindergarten productions. Activist cowardice is what it is.

But still. Christmas is a commercial holiday. Yeah, that’s right, I said it. Christmas is a commercial holiday. The reason Christmas is big today has nothing to do with the Christ child and much to do with Fisher Price and the industrial revolution. We are very cautious about our inherent and overwhelming greed so we tack on religious sentiment so as to encourage some part of our divine likeness to come out. Sometimes we get so good at this it may even sway the initial source back towards something good. But it doesn’t change the fact. Christmas is a commercial holiday, the king of Hallmark holidays.

Why do I say this, and seem to suggest a bit of humbug during this festive week? One of the peculiarities of the current outrage is the fact that the most conservative Christians of the 19th century refused to celebrate Christmas at all, calling it a pagan holiday. I went to Wheaton College, where the founding President was passionately against several things in the 1860s. He was an ardent abolitionist, he was an ardent anti-mason, and he was against Christmas.

In fact he refused to close down the school for the holiday until some professors encouraged the need for a “winter” break. Some students celebrated it, many didn’t. It was a mark of a conservative faith not to celebrate the winter solstice even with redefined meaning.

That being the case, and this being now not then, I like Christmas. I also have fond feelings for halloween. I dislike the various religions of theist or atheist types which reject the celebration of a holiday. Our Jewish sources embraced fasting and feasting to celebrate great or terrible events. It’s good for the soul to let the rhythms of time interact with our worship and to give ourselves points in which days are set aside for a memorial. If it’s against our core values, change the holiday to reflect something we can celebrate and turn it towards good. That’s the Christian path, embrace everything within the framework of Christ, and only reject something which cannot at its core be restored to the light. All things, even holidays, are able to taste of the fruits of salvation, methinks.

So, I like Christmas, what it stands for in the hearts of those who are eager for good, and for the chance to celebrate together as a family and community. It just makes me laugh when folks take it all so serious and get in an uproar when the foundations of this holiday expose themselves.

The Christ Mass is a holy day worth our consideration and should prompt us to worship the Christ. Christmas is a commercial holiday, built up by toy stores and advertising which creates a whole season out of celebrating wanton materialism, which is the true American religion. I think Joyous Solstice is a good way of acknowledging this latter holy day.

Both celebrations are fine, I think. Just so long as we don’t take it so seriously and make a season of peace, whatever the bond, into yet another cause for conflict.

So, Merry Christmas to you all, and Joyous Solstice to everyone.

One Response to “Happy, uh… Merry, no… Joyous Solstice?”

  1. Zippy The Troll Says:

    HA! Something must be in the water. Just finished writing my own thing about the solstice…