the reason for the season is jesus, and other lies

An earlier but still timely message.

rant-ology!

 

santa

Children depend upon us to give them accurate information about the world they come into. See: whispering (not so) sweet nothings. They’re so easy to dupe or take advantage of—over and over—because their hard-wiring is set to trust. This doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy a good trick or can’t distinguish between most of what’s real and what’s imaginary—if we help them. They do love to be included in any festive hoodwinking.

Jesus wasn’t born in December. That construct—according to biblical scholars—started mid fourth century and though there’s no definitive answer, the best guess is Jesus was born April-ish. Also, the main thoughts concerning Christianity’s two biggest holy days are that Christmas & Easter were taken from pagan holidays (Saturnalia & Ostara) or Jewish holidays (Chanukah & Passover). Quite a bit of evidence supports these ideas. For instance, the Christmas tree with its lights and decorations is linked to Druidic…

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april fool’s is not foolish…yet

tarot fool

Little Luca Lucas came to Nonna’s house for his first Easter hunt of naturally colored-eggs from my “girls,” plastic eggs bestowed with foiled chocolates, pecans and kumquats and a red collection basket. It took a bit for him to get the gist and then…surprise, joy, challenge, satisfaction. Brunch followed: buckwheat waffles a la Kelly, sausagees (vegan sausages) a la Nonna, stewed fruit. To the park for slack line jollity and playground. A lovely personal time.

At the park, a church was setting up for a large hunt by helter-skeltering 8000!! plastic eggs over the ground. Apparently the idea is to greedily grab as many as possible. No hiding, no challenge, no merriment. Lucas and I walked through this mine-field for the visual but I believe that even this almost two-year-old could feel the lack of inspiration that he’d just experienced. Contrary to U.S. belief, children don’t like ‘easy.’ They LOVE an authentic challenge. They LIKE to surmise; they’re into meaningfulness (not mindless “entertainment”) until they’re trained not to be.

Almost every popular holiday has been defaced and decayed by marketers, stores, bakeries, restaurants and/or anyone who believes that money is the true—maybe only—motivator of humans. The truer reason money has been a mover is to acquire what we need: housing, food, etc. and what we fancy: everything else that we believe will make us “happy” or fulfill us in some way. In other words, what gives meaning. Twisting meaning into insincere sentimentality or materialism is just wrong.

I recoiled from holidays starting around the age of 10, growing exponentially each year as I felt pressured and obligated—not by my family—but by the culture to be “happy,” to believe in something I didn’t, from: St. Patty’s Day (drinking and wearing green), New Year’s (drinking), Thanksgiving (indulgence and football with little sustainable thanks), 4th of July (beer, let’s blow shit up & pollute the air), Labor Day (almost no connection left to it’s inception), Easter & X-mas (stolen from Pagan holidays), Valentine’s Day (see: love, sad, love, sad, love, sad, sad love), Halloween (Persona day! Yes! Boo—now it’s usurped by adults, it’s competitive, and female “sexy” rules), Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Flag day, ad nauseum.

Not to mention: International Panic Day (18 June), Rubber Eraser Day (15 April) or National Punch Day (20 September). Maybe the latter is to celebrate the punching of people who create hollow holidays.

I have two children, I taught writing in schools and now I have a grandson so I’m not a complete curmudgeon. I participated! Ask them. But I aspired to create inspiration not stimulation in whichever we engaged in. Valentines were homespun, Solstice replaced X-mas with our distinctive ritual (see: the reason for the season is jesus and other lies), handmade cards, honeyed orange peels, champagne, minimal gifts.

Today is the only familiar holiday that hasn’t been assassinated and still has fun attached. As long as you don’t do unkind practical jokes, become a wholehearted trickster. Especially with little ones who love to be good-naturedly hoodwinked but never deceived. Just like us adults.

the reason for the season is jesus, and other lies

 

santa

Children depend upon us to give them accurate information about the world they come into. See: whispering (not so) sweet nothings. They’re so easy to dupe or take advantage of—over and over—because their hard-wiring is set to trust. This doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy a good trick or can’t distinguish between most of what’s real and what’s imaginary—if we help them. They do love to be included in any festive hoodwinking.

Jesus wasn’t born in December. That construct—according to biblical scholars—started mid fourth century and though there’s no definitive answer, the best guess is Jesus was born April-ish. Also, the main thoughts concerning Christianity’s two biggest holy days are that Christmas & Easter were taken from pagan holidays (Saturnalia & Ostara) or Jewish holidays (Chanukah & Passover). Quite a bit of evidence supports these ideas. For instance, the Christmas tree with its lights and decorations is linked to Druidic practices, eggs & rabbits to fertility.

I’ve nothing against 25 December being the “decided” date to celebrate Jesus’ birth. But then who’s Santa? He appears to be an combination of St. Nick, Odin—a white bearded god who rode the skies with Sleipnir his white horse that children left carrots for in their shoes and Odin left grateful presents in return—and the Finnish Yule Goat who dressed in a red suit and brought candy to children. Very little of the traditional icons of xmas are Christian. Sorry.

At my house, we have one solstice tree and for most of my children’s lives we celebrated a self-created solstice ceremony commemorating the light’s return by colorfully drawing on paper what we hoped for ourselves and the world in the coming year, then burned them outside. We do/did have presents, some from “Ms. Santa” which were for the whole house like games or chocolates, but the focus of the holiday wasn’t gifts.

What does this have to do with misleading innocents? Well, many people lie about Santa at the expense of naive kids. When they find out the truth, kids are usually not disappointed that Santa doesn’t exist so much as humiliated because they were left out of the joke. They’re happy to “believe” in Ms. Santa, elves, reindeer, etc. with you and the family.

You’re Ms. Santa, right?”

“O, no. Not me,” I’d sing-song.

“Come on mamma—you are, too!”

“No, no, no. I don’t know what’s in this present.” They’d just eat this up.

Then there are parents who’ll insist the holiday is really all about Jesusbirth. How do they explain all this pagan imagery? Is Jesus’ birth about a glut of gifts and a gluttonous table? BTW, Mary was a homeless teenager with an illegitimate child. These days, certain Christians wouldn’t give her a quarter let alone revere her, and they’d kick her out of the stable.

Let’s all share the fantasy of Santa and reindeer, regardless of age. Let kids in; teach them we can dress truth in fiction to burn all the brighter, but only if everyone’s party to it.