Monday, December 05, 2005

Santa Christ

Christmas is a confusing time at best. The Jews and pagans had been a round a long time and created a lot of religious (or non-religious in the case of the pagans, I suppose) holidays. The Christians on the other hand, when they were just starting out had bupkiss as they would say back then. They thought they should have some, especially to celebrate Jesus’ birthday. In the absence of any birth certificates they apparently decided to Hijack Chanukah and grab the decorated tree the pagans used. The birthday fell on 25 December, a date with no real significance, just something someone back then pulled out of his ass and away we go. Christmas wasn’t the only holiday the Christians rustled, but that’s for another time.

Now add Santa Claus AKA Saint Nicholas. He has become a spirit of mythical proportions, not unlike his religious counter part Jesus. In fact in many cases he has eclipsed the whole reason we were having the holiday in the first place. No, this isn’t another one of those “the message is lost in the secular crap” lecture, although it has been lost. It is just about the crap that comes along with the holidays and how I am having trouble getting into the whole thing.

First is Santa v.s. Jesus. The main difference between Santa and Jesus is that Santa doesn’t expect you to worship him. He just asks you be good. He uses the carrot approach, you’re good and you get a toy. Jesus uses the stick approach – you’re bad and it’s off to shovel the devils coal. I’d rather be toyless than burn in hell, personally.

Then there’s hanging crap from a tree. What has that got to do with Jesus? As close as I can come to a religious experience with the tree stuff is the pain and suffering taking the devil be-damned thing apart and putting it away again, ok, it isn’t the “Stations of the Cross” or anything but it still sucks hard. I suppose if you just believed in Santa you could leave it up all year as sort of a shrine or something. I think the pagans just used trees in the woods and left the crap on the tree after they were done doing whatever it was they did. Eventually it would rot off (they mostly had organic stuff) and actually benefit the tree. We murder the tree and drag it in the house. Sometimes the tree does get its revenge by bursting into flames and taking the house with it. We have a synthetic tree. The process of making the tree probably fouled the atmosphere and gave some immigrant worker lung cancer, but beyond that it keeps us from dropping the axe on old Mr. Balsam thereby being environmentally more sound.

It is true X-mas has become all about the money. If Santa was a Republican he’d be doing the river dance over all the loot that companies were dragging in from the poor saps who now believe X-mas is about giving crap to other people, who in turn have to buy crap for them. He’d also be drilling the living shit out of the arctic right now environment be damned. Great for the capitalist greed machine, not so good for the soul.

I think if you want to follow the Jesus (or even Santa) thing you need to give, but you need to give to people that don’t all ready have. A friend of mine once said ”People need to discern the difference between what they want and what they need”. There are folks out there that don’t have food much less that Rolex you are going to give Uncle Bill. No, you want to espouse any religion I think it is time to see to others comfort – including animals (yes dear, I realize I can’t have another Husky from the rescue). If you are really into Jesus and/or Santa you would do the giving all year long each and every day because there are a lot of poor people out there that have been exploited to the point of extinction.

I do believe in Santa Claus, though I think he is more of a culture than a person. I think being good, especially to each other is important. In a large way the church no longer seems capable of providing the moral compass we all (especially young formative minds) need. Kids need to realize poor behavior = no toy, or whatever. It would be great if they believed that they would be damned to eternal flames if bad, but I suspect kids have trouble biting off on that. Mostly folks have to believe there are repercussions for their actions. Pat on the back for the good, boot to the head for the bad if that is what it takes. Anyway, happy Santa Day and be good for goodness’ sake…