Christmas Objections

Though I claim no allegiance to any religion or belief system, I have no objections to Christmas as a secular or religious holiday and I begrudge no one their beliefs. Indeed, I am very much in favor of the sentiments and ideals that the holiday represents. Still there aspects of the holiday which I find disfavor.

I vehemently object to the crass commercialization of the holiday that seems to begin earlier with each passing year although commercialization has pervaded nearly every holiday, both religious and secular, on the calendar. The commercialization of holidays caters to the greed and avarice of everyone involved – manufacturers, retailers, shoppers, and recipients. Black Friday is the most blatant and most extreme example of this greed and avarice. Black Friday, the “official” beginning of the Christmas shopping season is, in fact, the antithesis of Christmas.

I also have objections to those who most vocally proclaim the sanctity of the holiday. Often these same people are the most deeply mired in commercialism, greed, selfishness, and self-righteousness. They claim abundant faith in their Lord yet they fail to heed His teachings either out of ignorance or indifference to them.

Faith and belief can only lead you to your path. Only you can walk the path. No one, not even Jesus, can walk it for you. Ultimately, you alone are responsible for your own salvation.

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Black Friday & Christmas Spirit

The crass commercialization of Christmas is certainly a downer but what really puts a damper on my Christmas Spirit is Black Friday which is the antithesis of Christmas. It would be a gross understatement to say that I’m not particularly religious. The truth is that I am not religious at all considering that I do not follow any religion.

Christmas spirit transcends religion. While I celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday, it still represents to me the ideals that Jesus espoused – hope, peace, love for one another, charity, generosity, compassion, and good will. Black Friday, on the other hand, celebrates humanity’s darker side – greed, avarice, selfishness, materialism, and blatant disregard for others, everything Jesus preached against. Maybe that’s why it’s called Black Friday.

With each Christmas season, Black Friday has expanded from just one day to several consecutive days beginning on Thanksgiving Day or even earlier. Greed also leads to the Dark Side although I’m sure that greed is also rooted in fear like nearly everything else that dwells in our shadows.

Tis the Season…

It’s that time of year again and in social media the arguments begin, most in regard to the 25th of December. Here’s my two cents.

Merry Christmas versus Happy Holidays — I really don’t care what greeting you use. I’m fine with either so use whichever you prefer. Nobody is forcing you to use with one or the other so get over it. You might also consider all of the various holidays that occur in the month of December, most of which have nothing to do with the Christian holiday. There is nothing wrong with covering your bases.

Putting Christ in Christmas — If you feel moved to focus on the religious aspects associated with December 25th then, by all means, do that. It’s your personal choice just as it’s my choice to celebrate it as a secular holiday, that is, to not put Christ in Christmas. There are many people, both Christian and non-Christian who make this choice. Recall that the Puritans, a particularly devout group of Christians, did not celebrate Christmas because they felt that it was too pagan. And consider that Christmas wasn’t even a holiday until sometime in the 4th century CE when a pope appropriated the Roman Saturnalia and declared the culmination of the festival to be Christ’s Mass (Christmas) day. Most of the holiday traditions we observe around the holiday have their roots in pagan customs.

With all that said, I observe Christmas as a secular holiday. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy Christmas songs, holiday movies, and the like. I do. I feel a spiritual energy around this time of year and I expect this energy has been manifested by people from time immemorial, long before the season was appropriated by the Christians in their evangelical manifesto to convert all the pagan populations of the world. I’m sure it was felt by the Druids, the Celts, the Teutonic tribes and others long before Christianity existed. I doubt the Church realized the true spiritual significance of the season when they appropriated the pagan rites and celebrations, added Jesus, and packaged it as Christmas.

Monthly Detritus Report (12-12)

Random chatter from the Monkey Mind as it leaps from limb to limb, howls, scratches its balls and flings feces at passersby…

  • 01
    • Christmas tree up, decorated by Abi and Nick.
    • “There is nothing wrong with leaving the past behind.” The Moment of Letting Go.
  • 02
  • 04
    • Keep the Han in Hanukkah.
    • Hey, I resemble that remark! … “Marriage is just a fancy word for adopting an overgrown man child who can’t take care of himself.”
    • The tractors I drove on the farm were nothing like this. Need to watch this video! One word, “Awesome!”
  • 06
  • 13
    • Re: shoulder. Getting referred to orthopedics. I didn’t catch all the medical jargon but there seem to be 2 issues. Something about a tendon and something has a tear. I did not not hear rotator cuff. Might have been bursa. Hoping I won’t need any surgery.
  • 14
    • Happy 94th birthday, B.K.S. Iyengar
  • 15
    • It’s hell getting old. Sudden muscle spasm in the right hip last night. Feels better this morning but hurts to put on pants.
    • As mysteriously as the bathroom lights went out yesterday morning, they came back on this morning. The TV in the bedroom mysteriously died last night. I turn it on and the little light just blinks at me. I’ll never buy another TV from Wally World. Anyone need a 32″ wide screen paperweight?
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
    • Ortho appointment went well. No surgery! At home physical therapy. Planning to resume yoga practice.
    • I always suspected my cat might be a Sith Lord.
    • “I just try to make my 15-year-old self happy.” Yes, that might explain the chronic masturbation.
  • 19
    • First asana practice in quite a while but it went well. The shoulder still has some healing yet. — at Day Yoga Studio. The shoulder problem is most apparent when I’m flat on my back (supine twists, Savasana, and some core stuff). A rolled up blanket under my head helps in Savasana. Most of my practice is still possible with just a few modifications.
    • “Oh Gravity, thou art a heartless bitch.” ~ Dr. Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory (Yes, she is.)
  • 20
  • 21
    • First snow of the season so driving to work was quite an adventure. It was ugly. I didn’t have much of a problem with the roads but those sharing the road with me seemed to be in panic mode. Almost got nailed by a Buick coming at me sideways. Fortunately, he came to a stop about a foot from my front bumper. I backed down the hill and let him get straightened out. Had to go around a few fender benders. I didn’t have to deal with this in Hawaii.
  • 22
    • Being subjected to musical theater against my will. Help!
  • 24
    • Watching “Scrooge” (the 1951 version)
  • 25
    • Watching “A Christmas Story”
    • Had a wonderful Christmas dinner with the whole local family and managed to smuggle a slice of apple pie back.
  • 26
    • My drive in was slow going but not nearly as adventurous as last Friday’s commute. At least there was no one sliding toward me sideways.
    • Drive home wasn’t too bad. It seems that they forgot to lower the plows to the road. Rob cleared the driveway and reports that the snowblower just compacts it in the chute. I’ll check it out this weekend.
    • 10 signs that you aren’t cut out for IT [Now they tell me.]
  • 27
    • RT @dspeers: “‘@RetweetDares: If you sleep naked, retweet this’ //thought that was pretty normal, how is that a dare?” [I recently read that only about 8% of Americans sleep naked. So 92% of Americans don’t dress appropriately for sleep? Then again, most Americans don’t dress appropriately for swimming or sunbathing.]
  • 28
    • RT @yisforyogini: “Free your mind and your ass will follow.” — George Clinton
    • Okay, we’ve had our snow. It can go away now. It’s not pretty any more.
    • Nudity is our ideal state, our pure state, our natural state, our default state. Clothing is always a deviation and a compromise.
  • 29
    • Another inch or so of snow this morning. It’s powder so it’s easy to shovel but it’s slick and not so good for driving. Oh, and why can’t the city plow crews get those snow plows a little closer to the pavement? Just saying.
    • Watching “How I Won the War”. Not bad for a British satire. Well, I think it was satire. John Lennon’s character was interesting.
  • 30
    • That’s a good start: “The key to eating healthy? Avoid any food that has a TV commercial.”
    • Happy Penultimate Day!
    • The secret to humor is… The elephant of surprise!
  • 31
    • “I’m too tired for savasana.” – said no one ever.

Compiled from Twitter and Facebook entries along with personal observations and seasoned with witticism, cynicism and sarcasm.

Merry Christmas

Though Christmas is a “Christian” holiday, I celebrate it as a secular holiday with spiritual overtones. I regard Jesus of Nazareth as a great spiritual teacher whose teachings and message have largely been lost to those who claim to be his followers. It is his message of peace, compassion and good will that I try to observe this day and every day. His message was much the same as other great spiritual teachers such as the Buddha and the sages who wrote the Vedas and other sacred texts.

My spirit is influenced by all who seek peace. I do my best to not get caught up in the crass commercialism that has become the norm for this and many other holidays. I reject the notion that our worth as human beings, as family, as friends, is somehow dependent upon the monetary value of the gifts we give and receive. We all have value but so many are unaware of their value as it is buried beneath layer upon layer of illusion which must be stripped away to reveal the divine nature within.

To be a good person, one does not have to be a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Wiccan, a pagan or a follower of any faith or religion. One simply chooses to be a good person and acts accordingly by choosing thoughts, words and actions of kindness and compassion without attachment to the fruits of those actions or expectation of reward. It is what you decide to do every day that makes you a good person — or not. Is that so difficult? In the end, it’s what you do that counts, not what you believe. Evil done and violence committed in the name of your god does not make it any less evil or any less violent.

“I put no stock in religion. By the word religion I have seen the lunacy of fanatics of every denomination be called the will of god. I have seen too much religion in the eyes of too many murderers. Holiness is in right action, and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves, and goodness. What god desires is here [points to head] and here [points to heart] and what you decide to do every day, you will be a good man – or not.”

Hospitaller, Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

Whether you are Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, pagan, atheist or whatever, the reason for the season is the message of kindness and compassion toward our fellow man as well as the planet we inhabit and the creatures with whom we share it.

Holiday Rant

With the holiday season (Christmas is not the only holiday in December) fast approaching I’m already starting to see the whining all over Facebook about taking Christ out of (or putting Christ in) Christmas. Like it or not, Christmas has become a secular holiday and many will celebrate the holiday without the religious connotations. For those who wish to put Christ in Christmas, you are more than welcome to do that for yourself. No one has said that you can’t celebrate it as a religious holiday. Please keep in mind that not everyone who celebrates Christmas is necessarily a Christian and that there are other faiths and belief systems that celebrate various holidays in December.

December 25th was proclaimed to be Christ’s Mass day by an infallible pope in order to co-opt the Roman Saturnalia festival and convert the Roman pagans. According to the Gospel of Luke, Jesus was most likely born in the spring since that is the time when the shepherds would be in the fields with their flocks. A particular alignment of planets was observed about April 17, 6 BCE which may have produced the effect explaining the appearance of the star that the Magi followed. Remember that the Gregorian calendar is known to be six years off (another infallible pope).

Go ahead and put Christ in your Christmas. That’s your prerogative. Just don’t force me to put Christ in my Christmas should I choose to have a secular Christmas.

Christmas Spirit

This year the Christmas Spirit hasn’t really possessed me and I’m perfectly fine with it. I haven’t felt any conflict between the secular and religious connotations of the holidays nor have I concerned myself with them. The crass commercialism and the idea that one’s personal worth is dependent upon the monetary value of the gifts one gives and receives usually annoy the piss out me but this year the concept merely amuses me. Generally speaking, my approach to the holidays has been one of non-attachment and, occasionally, detachment.

I’ve asked for nothing in the way of gifts and I really don’t have any expectations about any I might receive. The gifts that I’ve purchased for others have been thoughtful and practical, items that I would have gotten for them regardless of the season. For the most part, I feel quite content and it’s a good feeling.

I’ll still celebrate Christmas. I’ll reflect on the message of Jesus Christ and how we should follow his teachings every day. Mostly, I’ll enjoy the day with my family and bask in the joy and hope of my grandchildren.