Yay! Christmastime is here!
I didn’t hear my first Christmas carol until the day after Thanksgiving. It was Dr. John’s version of “Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.” It was followed by all the classics by Bing, Frank, Dino, Ray Charles, John Denver and of course those lovable Chipmunks. Needless to say, I was SHOPPING.
Yes, shopping. That is how we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior in America. We shop. And shop and shop and shop. And fight and shop and fight. And shop.
Four days ago, on my way home from work, I saw a man beating his son (presumably it was his son) while attempting to hang a string of Christmas lights on the front awning of his house. The string of Christmas lights was hopelessly tangled as they always are this time of year, and the boy, who looked to be about seven or eight years old, had carelessly walked directly into the massive snarl. The dad instantly dropped the focus of his labors and grabbed the kid’s sweatshirt with his left hand and walloped him repeatedly with his right. Jesus would have been proud.
Or he IS proud. That’s what I meant to say. I keep forgetting that he’s not some guy who got killed by the Romans 2,000 years ago, but a living, infinite being with whom I can forge a meaningful bond.
Anyway, to honor this Son of God who Died for Our Sins, we must shop. And decorate our dwellings with garish symbols of pre-Christian paganism. And shop.
I have not yet heard of any occurrences of the annual separation-of-church-and-state fracases that seem to accompany this glorious season, but no doubt they are right around the corner. Some hyper-Christian civil servant will erect a manger scene in a government center somewhere and the Secularists will raise their angry voices in protest. The ACLU will be called upon, once again, to set the situation to rights and the Christian symbols will be replaced by pagan ones. But as Molly Ivins once famously observed, erecting a Nativity scene is probably the only way to get three wise men in a government building.
From all this, you might be inclined to believe that Big Daddy Malcontent hates Christmas, but nothing can be further from the truth. As mentioned above, Christmastime has pagan origins. The ancient Germans would mark the shortest day of the year by gathering with family and friends to eat, drink and be merry in an effort to fortify themselves against the coming winter doldrums. And, if times were good, they would exchange a gift or two in honor of the friendships without which life would be dreary. Decades of conflict with the Romans hipped Caesar to the tradition, proving that good can come from bad. As the Roman Empire morphed into the Holy Roman Empire, these German traditions became the accepted method for celebrating the birth of Jesus.
So, whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa or some nebulous incarnation of the seasonal merriment, the central theme remains the same: Peace on Earth and Goodwill Toward Men. Lack of it is at the heart of Big Daddy’s malcontentedness, so naturally he is Down with Christmas. Peace.