ABOUT CHRISTMAS (….if we’re going to be politically “incorrect”…let’s do so…all the way)

The un-American concept of “political correctness”, much like a very infectious disease, keeps trying to undermine the essence of this country. Those who profess to be “American” should categorically reject it because it is a pernicious side-effect of multi-culturalism, with its emphasis on diversity, rather than on poly-culturalism, which promotes unity.

Simply put, no matter what our personal history might be, where we came from, or what beliefs we hold, we’re all – Americans – first, and something else….second.

So how does any of that relate to Christmas as we know and observe it today? While its tradition does derive from Christian roots, over time, it has evolved here away from that purely religious source to become what must now be called – Customary Observance – and thus, more and more secular in its celebration, open to anyone of any faith who cares to join in and participate. But, since its fundamental message is still a universal one of – peace on earth- goodwill to all – nothing about it, or saying – Merry Christmas – should be cause for offence to anyone of whatever faith. It’s now just part of our American culture and heritage.

And if anyone might have doubts about these secular aspects of this holiday season, it should be noted that the emphasis of – Merry Christmas – is on – Merry –, and that, comes directly from pagan roots, as does the Christmas tree and the mistletoe.

Those pagan roots reach back to Roman times where, after several centuries of persecution as a subversive cult, Christianity was ultimately made the official state religion by decree of the emperor Constantine the Great. Even so, faced with converting a largely pagan society with a multiplicity of competing religious practices, the early church fathers hit upon the shrewd idea of co-opting the most universally observed pagan festival of the Roman year – the Saturnalia – to do it. It was a festival held at the mid-winter solstice in late December who’s somewhat excessive observances allowed the normal rules of social behavior to be “relaxed” for the occasion. It was a truly “merry” time for the Romans back then.

So glomming on to such a festival as being the time when Jesus was born made it easier to bring pagan Romans into the Christian fold. In later times, the evergreen tree and mistletoe were grafted onto its tradition, both also derived from pagan Gothic practices and beliefs. Then further in the future a kindly Bohemian bishop, named Nicholas, made a practice of distributing alms and gifts to the poor, and especially to their children, thus earning himself a sainthood, and ultimately becoming the gift giving icon we now call – Santa Claus -. Such are the historical elements behind the story of Christmas.
Well, enough about historical background, and let’s also set aside serious concerns of the moment, and, with apologies to Robert Graves, my favorite author of could-have-been-history, here’s a light-hearted and tongue in cheek slide show version of how it all might have begun. It’s called- The Emperor Who Found Christmas – .

Enjoy….and….Merry Christmas!

CENTURION

The Emperor Who Found Christmas from Bill Taylor on Vimeo.