Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Freedom

Earlier this month I started a post on my feelings and beliefs on Christmas, but as usual I got too wordy and bogged down. I also decided that no one really wanted to hear all of that anyway. People just want to have fun.

Today I read Dale’s post and then I saw this Discovery video and decided to go ahead and post my views. The Discovery video is very interesting, but nothing new to me. It basically tells that Christmas had its origins in Pagan rituals. Duh, don’t most holidays?! In the video the thought is that Christians decided to combine their religious holiday with already existing Pagan holidays to get more people interested in Christianity. I think this is pretty much true. Constantine was the first Roman Emperor to become a Christian. Can’t you just see all the pagan soothsayers and magicians and such suddenly scrambling to be what the Emperor wanted? Christianity was in and Pagan worship was out. So you have Pagan holy men trying to be Christian and Christian holy men trying to please and entice the crowd. Together they were able to corrupt and please the world with holy days to fit their purposes making it possible for the people to party uncontrollably, but do so with a good conscience.

From the time Aaron made a golden calf for the people to dance around, celebrate, and worship to Simon the Sorcerer in the early days of the Christian church, men have been distorting the Christian religion to suit themselves. Churches still do this today, but you can see this happen through the ages with all sorts of holidays like Easter and Halloween, and even some smaller holidays.

Ex: Years ago in Taos, I attended St. Geronimo Day at the Taos Pueblo. At first I wondered why the Taos Indians would celebrate an Apache, but then I learned that they were actually celebrating St. Jerome. There were vendors of all sorts lining the Pueblo area selling their trinkets – it was great fun. Then the Kachari Spirit Men came out and reeked havoc on the people, being silly, throwing kids in the creek, taking offerings from the vendors, etc – all as sort of blessings upon the people. Eventually, the Kachari made their way to a maypole. On top of the pole were all sorts of goodies – vegetables, a dead goat, etc, and several ropes hanging down the pole. The Kachari began to play and swing on the ropes with one Kachari climbing to the top – all to ensure a good harvest. Basically a pagan ritual was combined with a celebration of a Catholic saint.

So should we give up our Santa, our evergreen tree in the house, our egg hunt, our dressing up like goblins, our wearing of the green, etc? It depends. Knowledge sets you free. If you know who and what you are celebrating there is freedom in the celebration. Knowing that Christ never said to throw a big party for His birthday certainly made things easier on me. I don’t have to set up a tree. I don’t have to buy gifts and go in debt. I don’t have to pretend there is a Santa, but I can if I want. I know that those things are just fun, but they are nothing to Christ. I can give gifts if I want. I can have a big meal with my family. I can love my God and serve Him and love my neighbor as myself without the parties and rituals. I can celebrate with my loved ones knowing that it is not a requirement of the Law. That is freedom.

13 comments:

Staci said...

Excellent post, Lou! I think Christmas has became just another commercial event; too much worrying goes on about what to buy one another than why there is even a CHRISTmas Day in the first place.

Another thing I find interesting is that so many people don't want to call the holiday "Christmas" because it might offend somebody, but those same people have no misgivings about having the time off work because its Christmas. Know what I mean? If you don't believe in the Christian holiday, then don't use it as an excuse to celebrate. And I won't use Ramadaan or whatever. :)

Deb said...

Thanks Lou. You nailed that one. I pretty feel the same and don't understand why it is that so many people have a hard time with me NOT doing the whole Christmas thing. It's basically just turned in to a commercial feeding frenzy instead of what it started out to be.

Andy said...

Lou, I could not have said it better myself. Obviously.

We went through the religious swings in our adult years. From all-out hook line and sinker celebrating...to "don't need that pagan junk"...to understanding the whole thing much as you do.

Now we celebrate like he want to. Sometimes with some decorations. Always with a gift for each of the boys...but something simple (read cheap).

Pam and I rarely gift each other, but I am buying her an iPod, because she's taken up bicycling for exercise, and wants one.

Well said!

Merry Christmas!

AirmanMom said...

Outstanding post!
I agree with you and the two previous comments. Keeping Christ in Christmas is the finest gift we can give one another.
Merry Christmas to you and yours.
~AM

joyce said...

Amen! Preach it, sister! I like how you pointed out since Aaron's golden calf...

Have you seen the new Narnia movie? We saw it again yesterday. Such beautiful pictures and illustrations of Old and New Testament stories. I saw things I missed the first time around. We read the books to our boys when they were young. Now I wonder how or if they will do the last books in the CS Lewis series.

Dale said...

Awesome post Lou! It is about freedom and being able to express your beliefs as you see fit. Merry Christmas again!

Buck said...

Well said, Lou. I'm seeing a lot of your thoughts and sentiment about Christmas as I make the rounds of these innernets. I find the sheer volume of kindred spirits to be reassuring, this is good for the country I love.

You know I'm agnostic. That doesn't stop me from honoring Judeo-Christian values and traditions, which are the bedrock of this nation.

Junk Diva said...

Well said, it is freedom.

Deb said...

Here's a great editorial from the local paper for you Lou.
http://www.calgaryherald.com/opinion/Canadians+grow+stop+denying+Christmas/4012636/story.html

Bag Blog said...

Deb, that didn't work.

Andy said...

Yeah, it worked. I mean, the link did. At least it did for me.

And, it was a pretty good ed, too.

Bag Blog said...

Andy and Deb, I had to go at it a different way, but was finally able to read the article. You were right, it was good.

Jo Castillo said...

Good post and Merry Christmas from down south.