Oh Christmas Tree


December graces my calendar, Christmas music assaults my last nerve, snow is expected to fall in the next few days – it must be close to Christmas. I know I loved Christmas as a child; not for the birth of a mythical character, but for stringing popcorn garlands and anticipating the pancakes my father made on Christmas morning. I loved the way the tree smelled, it was organic, intoxicating  – a welcome addition to our rather brown 60’s living room.

I find myself pondering Christmas trees, reminding myself how it came to be that our “Christian” world erects this symbol year after year.

We deck the halls because Pagans used to bring greenery into their homes on  the shortest day of the year for the sun god to eat.  It was an “offering” to get well soon; a custom shared by ancient Druids, Romans and Greeks. Jesus could have been born in July for all we know but Dec. 25 was set to soothe uppity Pagans by coinciding with their solstice parties.

Many stories circulate over the first Christmas tree. One account comes from 8th century Germany; British missionary St. Boniface cut down a giant oak tree obliterating everything in it’s path except a tiny Fur sapling. He called it a miracle, dubbing it “the tree of the Christ child”. Decorate it any way you like – all the tinsel in the world can’t alter the fact Christianity adopted Pagan rituals to suit their purposes.

The Protestant reformation of the 16th century banned Christmas; viewing it as little more than a rowdy Pagan celebration. Oliver Cromwell’s England had no place for Christmas, and puritan immigrants to New England were forbidden by law to deck the halls. Christmas falling on Dec. 25 has nothing to do with the birth of Christ, and everything to do with the Roman festival of Saturnalia.

Romans celebrated Saturnalia for one week every year. From Dec. 17 – 25 courts closed and citizens were exempt from retribution. During the 4th century, Christianity succeeded in converting large numbers of people by promising they could still celebrate Saturnalia. Lacking a Christian angle – the church named Dec. 25, the last day of the festival as Jesus’s birthday. In exchange for “observance” of Christ’s birthday, the church looked the other way as Saturnalia participants drank themselves silly, ran naked through the streets, and indulged in excessive sexual activities.

Historical accounts tell of Pope Paul II standing on a balcony laughing as unfortunate Jewish citizens were forced to run naked through the streets. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, Jewish rabbis were plucked from Roman ghettos, placed in ridiculous clown  costumes and marched about for the delight of crowds armed with debris to toss at them. A 1836 appeal from the Jewish community to Pope Gregory XVI to stop the abuse resulted in this response “it is not opportune to make any innovation”. Dec. 25, 1881 Christian leaders whipped Polish followers into such a frenzy, 12 Jews were murdered, countless Jewish women raped.

Christmas is not a religious holiday – it never has and never will be. Jesus wasn’t born in December – Christmas is a Pagan holiday celebrating the winter solstice. Christmas symbolisms like the tree, mistletoe, even gift giving – “Christianized” to placate Pagan hordes.

I plan to put up a tree, buy gifts and spend time with my family. Christmas is a welcome break in the midst of dark winter days and crappy weather. Not for a second will I see it as anything other than what it is – the festival of Saturnalia.

http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/Christmas_TheRealStory.htm

Searching For the Wrong Eyed Jesus


If you haven’t pondered this documentary – now is the time.

http://kickass.to/middle-americana-searching-for-the-wrong-eyed-jesus-2004-t1261658.html

Are Fairies Vegetarian?


Nostalgia begged I figure something out the old fashioned way. Forget the internet, reference books or Google answers – a random thought came knocking, it required untainted pondering. I sent my daughter a message – “Help me out, are fairies vegetarian?”

She saw nothing unusual about my query. It was a good question, now both of us needed to know if fairies were vegetarian and weren’t inclined to “search” for an answer

Her gut reaction was the same as mine – fairies don’t eat meat and most certainly are vegetarian. Ponders begged the obvious question – then what does Oberon serve at his banquets? My son came home, I posed the same question – he replied “fairies don’t eat food” Hmm? Well what about the banquets, and why is it we all know, those who eat from a fairy table stay there forever? We wondered if fairies where presented with gifts of food, or if food simply appeared at their tables. We dismissed the idea of fairies hunting, more comfortable with the thought of gathering seeds and honey. It was late, we agreed to sleep on it, fairy diets could wait until tomorrow.

Relatively sure fairies are vegetarian, my mind drifted to ponders of faith.It’s much too late now,  but tomorrow I will ask my daughter if she thinks vegetarian fairy debates are any different from resurrection of Christ banter. Regardless, I refuse to “Google” any of it – tempted as I might be to search ” vegetarian fairy Jesus”.

Religion Can Be So Wacky…


While at work today the Jehovah Witnesses dropped a “watchtower” leaflet in my mail slot.

Normally I would have tossed it straight into the garbage but their new image of Jesus caught my eye. The updated watchtower Jesus looked more like the CEO of Hair Club for Men. I read on – it seems March 26 marks the 1,980th anniversary of his death. They were “cordially” inviting people to attend their church on that day to discuss how the death of the greatest man who ever lived could benefit us all. According to the apostle John – the blood of Jesus cleanses us of all sin. They went on to ask people to consider if death ended it all, stressing the importance of attending a bible study on the subject.

Trying to remember what I knew of the Jehovah Witness faith was spotty at best. I knew they didn’t allow blood transfusions, and was fairly certain the chosen were a limited number. I confess to a little chuckle recalling a story my brother told me – he’s a licensed trapper who happened to be skinning a Marmot one Saturday morning when they knocked on his door. Marmot in hand he answered the door; they asked what was in his hand and he answered “my cat”. Let’s just say they’ve never been back.

Some research followed; I wanted to know if death ended it all. The answer is a little tricky, as it’s yes and no. JW’s don’t believe in a immortal soul or the concept of hell. They believe we cease to exist when dead, however if we dotted all our I’s and crossed our T’s in life, there is a chance God will remember and resurrect the faithful. They believe we are in the “end times” which started in 1914.  Never stating when the “end” will come, one certainty is that when the end arrives, precisely 144,000 “anointed” will ascend to heaven to rule with Christ – the rest will spend eternity in “paradise on earth”. I admit some confusion; they seem a little vague on the concept of paradise on earth after end times.

With around 7 million faithful worldwide, the odds of ascending to heaven aren’t that great – yet the faithful knock on my door or plug my mail box with an admirable tenacity. It doesn’t seem to bother any of them in the slightest. I could care less what any one wants to believe; the sooner religion is off the table the better. However; stick a flyer with “hair club” Jesus pondering “death ending it all” in my door, and I simply can’t help myself.

This link has a good overview of Jehovah Witnesses.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/witnesses/beliefs/beliefs.shtml