Good evening faithful readers. It is Thursday, or as our pagan friends knew it… Thor’s Day.
We are just a couple of days away from the ultimate hodgepodge of a holiday, Christmas. Late December, the time when most cultures that grew up with seasons celebrate the Solstice, the Standing Still of the Sun. It is at this time, the winter solstice, that the Sun reaches its lowest point on the horizon, and for three days appears to not move lower or higher. Last night was the longest night of the year, and from here on the days will get longer and the nights shorter. The fact of this celestial event has spawned all sorts of traditional celebrations over the eons.
As a secular guy, I have no hangups with participating in any winter celebration, religious or otherwise. Just last Sunday I attended our Church’s Christmas program with Denice. It was great! The kids put on a good show, and the choir was amazing. Denice had a solo and she killed it! Of course it was all about Jesus, because that’s what they believe in. Do I believe that “Jesus is the reason for the season?” Um, no. I don’t. But I’m not going to let that stop me from enjoying some Jesus flavored Christmas.
It’s thoroughly understood by theologians that December 25th is not the birthday of Jesus of Nazareth. Well, at least it’s not any more likely that it is his birthday than any other day. That’s because no one knows when he was born. Celebrating “Christmas” on December 25th was something that the Roman emperor Constantine tacked on to Christianity when he took it over. The whole thing was probably a move to try to consolidate Christianity with the more widely practiced pagan traditions of the Romans who had a big festival at this time called Saturnalia.
So, whether you’re a Pagan and you mark the Solstice with your coven, or you’re a Jew and you do Hanukkah , or perhaps a German who observes Yule, or a Christian who loves them some Baby Jesus… this season is your season to celebrate as you please, and don’t let any uptight individual tell you any different. Boy, that was a run-on sentence.
No one “owns” this season. I prefer to use the greeting, “Happy Holidays,” because there are many legitimate winter holidays, and I do not discriminate against any of them.