Friday, 1 January 2010

Rediscovering Xmas

A link to this article appeared on Purple Hymnal's blog on Wednesday, with the "get it while it's hot" hurry-up, as the Globe & Mail, a Canadian newspaper with a national circulation, only archives stories for a week. Thus, you should click across pronto, immediately, if not sooner. Here's the opening section.

I don't have traditional Christmas memories. No green and red lights strung through cedar boughs. No Christmas tree hung with silver bells and tinsel and ornaments. No carols, no Santa, no stockings, no presents, no choirs of angels. No angels of any kind.
Our family didn't celebrate Christmas.
My parents were part of an extreme sect of fundamentalist Christians who believed that celebrating Christmas was a perverse form of idolatry. For my brother and I, that made us different, odd, freakish. We weren't Jewish or Muslim. There was no acceptable reason for our celebration-less Christmases. It felt sinful to even ask and our parents offered no explanation. Ever.
In my Winnipeg childhood, my brother and I stood with our mother in the cold slush of Portage Avenue, enthralled as we gazed into the world behind the windows of Eaton's or the Bay. Apple-cheeked children glided over mirrored ponds, elves and reindeer cavorted in cottony white snow and the ubiquitous train circled the snowy village, tooting its little horn as it sailed past lamp-lit shops and tiny churches. It was a world that surely encompassed every child's Christmas dream.
Traditional COGophiles may scream "bah, humbug!" but it's a great bit of human interest journalism. Though the church is not identified by name, we're apparently talking pre-Tkach WCG.

16 comments:

Purple Hymnal said...

Huh? I don't know the writer. I mean, I know, in the sense that I understand completely where the author is coming from, but know personally? Nope.

I have, however, heard terrible things about how conservative Manitoba congregations were back in the day.....

Corky said...

Did the WCG demonize Xmas because it was originally a pagan celebration or because HWA wanted the money that members would be wasting on their families at that "belt tightening" time of the year??

I suspect the latter because nearly everything was originally pagan. The months, the days of the week, seed time and harvest.

One cannot claim those times from the Jewish calender either - they were originally pagan too. One of the months is even named Tammuz.

Their calender is based on the 28 days from one new moon to another and matriarchal in that that is also the woman's menstrual cycle. What woman? Why, the queen of heaven, of course. The queen of heaven is the moon and the king of heaven is the sun.

This, of course, goes even farther back to the days of The Great Earth Mother, who was worshiped throughout the ancient world at one time.

Those who demonize Xmas may as well demonize everything and go live in a cave somewhere.

The christian church has just as much right to christianize pagan days and things as the Jewish church had to Judaize pagan days and things.

Neither one actually had that right but forced it upon the hapless masses by torture, murder and genocide.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Corky. HWA demonized Xmas and birthdays because he wanted the money that members would normally spend on their friends and families during the year.

I no longer have the booklet, "The Plain Truth About Christmas," but I do remember the very last sentence wherein HWA suggested "why not put the money into God's work instead."

That sums it all up.

Brian said...

"There was no acceptable reason for our celebration-less Christmases. It felt sinful to even ask and our parents offered no explanation. Ever."

Regardless of religion, just stepping back and looking at it objectively, there is something a little odd about sticking a tree up in your living room just because everything else does (among other things).

Keep it or don't keep it, but don't call out a church for not teaching why they didn't keep it, when they did.

purplehymnal said...

"I no longer have the booklet, "The Plain Truth About Christmas," but I do remember the very last sentence wherein HWA suggested "why not put the money into God's work instead."

This sentiment was also popular cannon fodder for sermons during the winter.....

Corky said...

Brian, decorating a little green tree in the winter time can go a long way in cheering people up and preventing "cabin fever" and deep depression.

If that works in modern times, imagine how much better it worked in ancient times when the whole world was so bleak and cheerless in the wintertime.

Looking forward to the spring and flowers blooming again is a good thing, not an evil thing.

Hey, it's not my fault that the Christian Church associated it with Jesus' birth and resurrection and it wasn't the fault of the pagans who invented it either.

Who was it that said, "it is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness"?

Anyway, a well lit home is much more cheerful than a dark house.

Of course, if you live in Hawaii or some other balmy place, you wouldn't understand about long, cold, dark winters.

If a person has never experienced the joy of a Christmas with family and friends around them, they have truly missed out on something that is absolutely priceless.

Brian said...

Corky,

I'm not against light in the dark months. I live in a place where I definitely look forward to the temperature getting warmer and the snow melting in spring.

And I am fully of the belief that one can have just as much joy in any other family get-together as they can with a Christmas get-together. Frankly, there's no difference, unless you count the lying to kids and weird ritual stuff. =)

Purple Hymnal said...

"If a person has never experienced the joy of a Christmas with family and friends around them, they have truly missed out on something that is absolutely priceless."

Agreed 100%! That, along with lights to stave off the darkness, is the ONLY meaning I take from "the season". Baby Jebus neither needed, nor included.

Anonymous said...

...as little children...


maybe she should have listened to her children, then she might have seen the folly in celebrating christmas, especially since it has no real meaning to her.....she only wants to be involved because "everyone else is doing it"...

one day she'll appreciate her parents for keeping her out of it.

Corky said...

Brian,
You can always just leave out the lying to kids and the weird ritual stuff. I do.

Whatever Xms and all its trappings used to mean, it doesn't mean that anymore. Like everything else, it evolved from pagan to Christian to modern commercialism.

It's only a family tradition to most people, in spite of the evangelical fundamentalists wanting to put Christ back into Xmas.

Since Christ never was in it to start with but was only a celebration of the rebirth of the sun, it means nothing but what you make of it. If it symbolizes "Bah Humbug" to you, then it will be "Bah Humbug" and you'll get no enjoyment from it.

Jethro said...

What will ministers do without money? Are there no workhouses? Are there no prisons? Bah humbug!

Anonymous said...

"Whatever Xms and all its trappings used to mean, it doesn't mean that anymore. Like everything else, it evolved from pagan to Christian to modern commercialism."


it doesn't mean that to you, but it does still mean that to God....oh yeah, i forgot, no one cares what God thinks anymore.

Corky said...

Anonymous said . . .
it doesn't mean that to you, but it does still mean that to God....oh yeah, i forgot, no one cares what God thinks anymore.

And, just how would you know what still means what to God?

Does the harvest festival, the FoT, still mean the harvest festival of the Great Earth Mother to God? That IS where it came from, you know.

Anonymous said...

Corky posted: "Does the harvest festival, the FoT, still mean the harvest festival of the Great Earth Mother to God? That IS where it came from, you know."

Corky: They will never admit it. I would love to take an armstrongite to see exhibits on early man in a museum of natural history that corroborates the pagan / pre-israelite origins of the ancient hebrew holidays. Earth mother worship and harvest festivals go back literally in excess of 30k years.

They really should read Karen Armstrong's book; "The Case for God" or "The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Tradiditions."

Enlightening.

Anonymous said...

"Does the harvest festival, the FoT, still mean the harvest festival of the Great Earth Mother to God? That IS where it came from, you know.
"


it seems quite obvious to me that the feasts of the Lord predate those pagan festivals.
God's feasts did not come from pagan festivals, but rather the pagan festivals are counterfeits of God's feasts.

Corky said...

Charlie, I know that they will never admit it, it would go contrary to their smug "holier than thou" arrogance.

I'm not too sure but what the human race shouldn't have stuck with the Earth Mother religion. At least it didn't hold with killing people who didn't believe it.

And, as an aside, they worshiped the earth as the giver and the sustainer of life on it. At least, we KNOW that was true. It's when people began to worship the sun that the trouble started.