Tuesday, December 25, 2007

In Defense Of Christ & Advent Calendars

Someone sent Isabelita, she who blogs in Wallingfjord at Learning To Sequence, an Adventskalendar. Even though neither she nor the sender are Christian. This, like Christmas itself, is weird. Now, if you don't know Adventzkalendars, they are funny-strange mnemonic devices devised by sadistic Germans to build up the Christmas suspense, turning up the pressure a little every day, each little paper door a port-hole to fresh horrors. Sick, hyper-competitive bastards. ("Twelve days of Christmas? Tscha! Eat our socks, you English. In Germany we get all 25!") Ok. I'm not doing a good job defending the calendars.

Whether you go in for the Nativity or the North Pole, or both (or not), if you speak English as a first language there's always plenty of fertilizer coming at you this time of year. Iz wishes, quite practically, that there was more chocolate in her Advent's calendar, and is turned off by the fictions about the baby jebus waiting behind each door. Christ, were he still cracking wise, would nail the whole concept of Christmas. He would point out how Christmas occasions all manner of evil, and he wasn't born then anyway. And say what you want about evils, but they're almost impossible to avoid.

Therefore, most of us here have to roll with the reindeer shit, and for those with young children there are few courses open outside of Buddha, Moses, and Mohammed but bowing to convention. Then suddenly you find yourselves standing in line for over an hour, outdoors in the freezing wind. Waiting for something useful, maybe, like free food? Coffee? A concert? No. You wait to see a complete stranger inexplicably dressed up like a murderous freebooter, as red as drenched from head to toe in fresh blood, all to put your little one onto the lap of this seasonal worker of questionable origins who you really hope isn't a child molester.

Then, when it's almost your turn to stop freezing and fork over 30 bucks so Santa can cop a feel (Yes, Virginia. There is a Santa Claus. Run!), some officious elf sticks her head out of the faux North Pole workshop and intones, "Santa goes on break in three minutes!" You're three places away from Santa's Gate, you've been looking at the Apple store not 75 yards away for 75 shivering minutes, and now you're auto-scanning your whereabouts for weapons and thinking: "If you try to close that gate, little elf, I'll rip the points off your ears."

Ah, the ghosts of Christmas future. What the hell are we thinking? I mean as a whole culture, one which has gone alarmingly insane and tells lies to our children, lies which don't even bother to have a purpose. The pagans who ran Samhain and went in for sacrificing Tiny Tim around the solstices, at least they had a
plan. We've got sales and toys so frigging complicated you wonder if it's China taking a little prevenge on us for the opium wars. ("What? A 9-volt battery? Required to power a treaded race-bot that climbs walls? Sure. Got it right here. In my ass.") When I lost the Leatherman with the phillips-head screwdriver while surrounded by wires, styrofoam, cardboard boxes, those twisty cables you can't unwind and have to cut, and the 500 pieces of interlocking plastic (sorry to not be exaggerating) which have to go together somehow, first a panic, then a depressive funk, ensued. Lord Wife found the Leatherman after determined searching and we were like, "Christmas is saved!! Pass the Xanax."

I realize this is all sick, very sick. The best part is, there are children on their way here who think that chasing a Jack Russell terrier around the house with a rectal thermometer is the height of folly. A tradition, I kid you not, established last year. How do I get out of Christmas, or give it a purpose? I know it's supposed to be about giving, about Christ's birth, but maybe it should be more about holding back, and taking the lies about Christ out of it. Christ doesn't have a goddamned thing to do with Christmas. (Catholics, don't even try any of your weak Pope-ninja bullshit on me. I've been to midnight mass in Nuremburg's town square, Christmas headquarters, and Jesus was emphatically not there.) Maybe it should be about practical forgiveness, as in, "You know, you really got on my nerves this past year, and a couple times there I wanted to effin' kill you. Here! Have a Cuisinart, and let's treat each other better." Forgiveness. A way to start. First base to the home plate of not killing people.

Iz asked what Christianity was all about, given the crap they tried out on her in Episcopalian Sunday schools, not to mention the other religions with fraud and hypocrisy, i.e., just about all of them. Being an ex-missionary for Jesus, I'm supposed to still know. So I was provoked into a post-modern "Yes, Virginia" exchange. Here's part:
No, I don't mean Christ actually said anything. It could've been a mere construct, and there is no telling proof otherwise.

Yet if you look at the historical context, there are many (of his) quotes that don't fit preferred contemporary Jewish revolution or nascent Catholic/pagan order fantasies, and this seems to indicate actual statements of at least one provocative personality leaked through unexpunged. They are problematic for any organized religion, and largely ignored, yet they were left in. (Only a guess, but Jesus may have been an Essene, philosophers who traveled and studied in the East. Someones who came close to answering the desperate Jewish need for a Messiah who would deliver them from Roman occupation. But not close enough.)

Organized religions completely ignore quotes that don't neatly fit their purposes, but the Jesus texts are far more prolifically radical than Sunday schools acknowledge. For example there was not a word from the Jesus character about fire, nor brimstone, so Episcopal simply isn't "Christian" on that score.

It really doesn't matter if Jesus was a man, many men, or a god, the message was to reject the revenge-based mindset of Judaism and embrace a philosophy of self-actualization and positive action. Human desire for hiearchical control purposefully obscures the philosophy.
Jesus comes straight out and tells people, at one point, that if they wish to live immortally with god-capital-G, they all have to pick up and carry their own cross. No way around it, no easy answers, no blame, no Santa Claus. Here's Isabelita's reply, about as well put as can be:
I could accept that message, even in a religious context, if more so-called christians acted on it.
Amen, sister. I'll try to act more better, and hope you found more chocolate in that last Advent box.


Phil said...

If I were a better husband, I'd have been sneaking bits of chocolate back under those little doors at night.

But I'm not, and I didn't.

MarcLord said...

LOLOL!! That would've been cool. Either way, your wife is absolutely right about both the calendars and the religions. More chocolate makes them better.

isabelita said...

marclord, we got so much chocolate yesterday that, if I were superstitious, I would start wondering about karmic whatever...
Hope y'all had a cozy day.

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