Coded green.

Sunday 24 December 2006

Street lamps

Pic of the day: My Christmas lights. What? You expected that from me.

Non-non-celebration

It must be strange to be a family that doesn't celebrate Christmas in a Christian country. A family of Jehovah's Witnesses, for instance. They very much don't celebrate Christmas. In fact, it seems to be a matter of doctrine for them. Not that I find this strange or offputting: Christmas is not actually a Christian tradition originally, or even Jewish like Easter or Pentecost which had their meaning changed in Christianity. In contrast, Christmas is based on thoroughly pagan holidays for the rebirth of the sun.

While this celebration may have been at its most fervent here in northern Europe, it seems pretty certain that it was a Roman "holiday" that was co-opted into Christmas around the time when Christianity became state religion in the Roman Empire, thanks to the mysterious emperor Constantine and his vision. Some point to the raucous Saturnalia festivities of ancient Rome, but the most relevant comparison is probably the celebration of the Invincible Sun, Sol Invictus, a popular deity among soldiers and often identified with Mithra. By identifying all these three mystery saviors: Christ, Mithra and Sol Invictus, the empire could get a much needed boost to its soldiers' morale. Christ was after all a popular character in the lower classes all throughout the empire at this time, despite repeated attempts in the past to root out the religion. And then as now, soldiers were often drawn from the landless.

While the details may be debatable, there is no doubt that Christmas celebration lacks any basis in the Bible or indeed the early church. Nor is there the slightest reason to believe that Jesus was born in the depth of winter. In fact, if the Bethlehem mentioned is that of Judea, as the gospel insists, then it was probably too cold for shepherds to stay out at night with their flocks. But you can read all about this around the Net or talk to your local friendly Witness, who will probably be delighted to help you understand the evil of Christmas.

So what do they do during Christmas? I don't have the faintest idea, except the voices in my head insist that there is probably SOMETHING. A kind of non-celebration, if nothing else then because children will have heard all about Christmas from their friends, about getting presents and eating heaps of good food and singing and parents getting drunk and fighting and flirting with the neighbor... OK, probably not the last part. But all the good stuff, no doubt. So the children will go "WHY, oh why can't we have Christmas too? Why do we NEVER get to have any fun?" That's why I am sure they have some kind of non-celebration where they tell children about the goodness of Jehovah and the evil of the idols and the folly of those who worship a mere dressed-up tree.

I expect other religious minorities in highly Christian areas to have their own non-celebrations as well, though I have no idea how they celebrate and I'm not going to ask. I am, however, going to tell. I am going to tell you all that I don't non-celebrate Christmas. I just plain ignore it.

This I can freely due as a compensation for not having children. It is a sad thing for the world, I know, to be deprived of my genetic heritage in the coming dark years. How I wish for your sake that it could be different! But there is no helping it. This is the hand fate has dealt us. My innumerable nephews and, to a lesser degree, nieces will have to take up the slack as best they can. I know nobody else can be me it is hard enough for me, actually but then again even my children, had there been any, would be only half me. They would necessarily have to be genetically diluted. So I shall endeavor to continue taking the stairs at work so I can stay alive until cloning becomes feasible... but for now, let is just face the fact that I don't have kids, and thus am under no obligation to give a rodent's tail about X-mas.

I still think enough about it to write this, though. Although i think this a week later, as I have largely forgotten the actual day. It was pretty forgettable, but I remember that there was no snow. I took this picture to remember by.


Yesterday <-- This month --> Tomorrow?
One year ago: Write Christmas
Two years ago: Alone for Christmas
Three years ago: Ordinary day
Four years ago: The almond war
Five years ago: Getting all I wanted
Six years ago: Christmas Eve
Seven years ago: Creepy dreams
(Eight years ago: Vacation.)

Visit the archive page for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.


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