Conscience to Consider … Musing upon The Hypocrisy of “Christmas”.

Recently, in “Too Offended to Think”
I considered the observable pattern in modern humanity
to become Instantly Offended and Enraged

by anyone who took the time
to do what they would not: Discern, Consider,
and have the Humility to say:
“Thank You for Making Me Think”.

This is the 21st century, where asking human beings
to … Think …
is now deemed “Offensive”.

I used to wonder quietly to myself, as a boy,
why “Christmas” – (apart from the family, and the presents
of a new book, teddy bear, and the always appreciated
extra-large tube of Smarties) – never ‘sat well’ with me.

I always felt cheated
by the whole idea of Christmas …

as though I was expected
to believe a monumental lie.

Lying was wrong; but at school and in society at large,
I was being asked to believe this one.

From just quietly watching and listening,
I was aware that my biblically-Puritan Mum and Dad
always seemed to stress the idea of Christmas
as a time for … family;

but they never spoke of it
having anything to do with “Baby Jesus”.

I knew full well the account of Constantine, who
– through fear of losing the rapidly dwindling
Roman Empire –in an attempt to ‘win over’
both pagan practitioners and the rapidly escalating
converts to a notion called Christianity …

took the pagan practices of his day
and swapped gods for ‘saints’

in order to create a new Roman Universal – (or, Catholic) –
Church in which, all Roman subjects
were now regarded as … “Christians”.

I certainly knew that WHATEVER ELSE
shepherds did in the northern latitudes of Palestine
at the end of December …

… sitting out in the fields
“keeping watch over their flocks by night”
was … NOT … one of them.

Nor did any Roman governor or Caesar
demand that “all the [Roman] world should be taxed”,
and expect people to travel, by foot,
in the height of winter.

But there was something – other than the popish –
that always made me feel that something
… was ‘wrong’.

Liquor was always advertised – everywhere –
in the weeks leading up to ‘Christmas’.

I had some idea of “office parties” as being
people who work together, getting drunk together.

And that neither my mum or dad, nor either
of my grandparents, bothered with such things.

Nevertheless, I kept all these things to myself –
figuring that there was something
that I simply did not understand.

And then, one day, I found the answer.

Accepting the cordial initiation of a family
who lived in Saskatchewan,
my parents took me for an extended visit to Canada
which is where, in 1966, I saw – and heard –
“myself” … on television.

The programme was called
“A Charlie Brown Christmas”.

It was a tremendous relief to realise
that I was not alone.

And that another little boy – with a round head –
also thought that there was something wrong
with a holiday that equated “Baby Jesus”
with ‘getting things’ … greed and … Self.

I learned, at an early age,
that the surest way to win the hatred
and contempt of mankind,
was to call for people to think and consider;

rather than just blindly
following the multitudes – religious or otherwise.

“Good men shall then be manifested:
their principles, their practices …

They who are now accused of Hypocrisy, and Obstinacy,
and Pride, and Peevishness
because they could not swim with the stream,
nor run with others to the same excess of riot,

will then be manifested to be men of Integrity and Humility;
and to have declined the course of others,

not out of foolishness preciseness …
but out of Conscience …” [ John Owen ]

Whilst my wife and I do enjoy having
a special meal on Christmas Eve,
we despise and purposefully remove ourselves from,
the vacuity of garish, “Sale Now On’ signs;
hordes queuing to get into shops;
and the ‘party mentality’ of liquor
and frivolous laughter.

I have learned a great deal about modern humanity
from the Internet – every one of them,
things that I wish I now knew nothing about.

It was only during the past few weeks, for instance,
that I have come to understand
that the mentality of modern multitudes
is so self-centred that it has become common practice
to return gifts in order to get something “better” –

and that people will even include shop receipts
with their gifts
so that the recipient can return unwanted items;

or hand someone a ‘gift card’
so that they can ‘buy their own’.

( And modern-minded people think
that there is something wrong
with … MY … thinking??? )

When I was a boy, you appreciated a gift
( whatever it may have been !!! )
because of … THE PERSON … who gave it.

I remember having two copies of Enid Blyton’s
“The Valley of Adventure” –
one from each set of grandparents.

I treasured both:
because I treasured the Givers.

What a disgusting state of degradation
is humanity now in.

Every time that I imagine that the last 21st century
“revelation” has taken me to the absolute depths
of social depravity and manifestly obscene selfishness …

… I soon discover that there is always One More Thing,
prevalent in modern society,
that I could never have so much as imagined.

In the 1960’s, Christmas was touted as a time for
“the joy of giving”.

What it is passed off now-a-days as being,
I cannot even begin to fathom.

I mentioned my confusion, as a boy,
of equating “Jesus” with an openly pagan holiday
such as the 25th of December;

of my distrust of “churches” and their “pastors”
who would tell me from their pulpits
that shepherds in Palestine
sat out in freezing cold fields at night, watching sheep;

of a Roman ruler who expected
all the people of the empire, to walk or ride their donkeys
into government centres “to be taxed”,
in the middle of the coldest time of year,
in the northern hemisphere;

and my disbelief at the veracity of such ‘teachers’,

when the record of history demonstrates
that it was the emperor Constantine who
– to save his rapidly flagging empire –
sought to unite the regular pagan population

with this new expanding movement of people
who were following some character
called “Chrestus”, or Christ …

into a community in which all Romans
were “Christians”, but Pagans could still
worship gods as “saints”,
and practice their old religion of priestly intercession
and sacrifice – albeit with a “cleaned-up” veneer.

I certainly could not fathom
how any mature man or woman
could find anything “Christian”

in the drinking and gluttony that was
the very hallmark of “The Christmas Season”.

Or why those who went to “church”,
and claimed to be different from … “the world”
would do everything they could, to imitate it.

The Puritans never acknowledged Christmas.
Cromwell banned the pagan festival.

But then of course, modern church-goers
have Nothing Whatsoever

in common with God-fearing Puritans.

CHRISTIANITY in Christmas ???
It is an absurdity that, for me,
is impossible to take in. Yet multitudes
will whip themselves up into an evangelical lather
to defend the notion.

And I cannot but wonder … why?

The celebration of the Winter Solstice.

Drunken orgies lasting from 17th to 24th of December
were recognised by Aurelian as “Saturnalia”.

The day after, gifts were exchanged in order
to celebrate the re-birth of the sun.
An event known in England,
as “The Festival of Fools”.

Pope Gregory decreed that all pagan festivals
be incorporated into Roman religious paganism.
The worship of Mithras, and Saturnalia,
became Christ’s Mass.

The public copulation, drunkenness, and debauchery,
of Christ’s Mass had become so repellent
by the mid-17th century,
that Cromwell outlawed the whole pagan event.

Until “Christ’s Mass” was restored along with Charles II.

Twelve Days of Christmas originated
with the Yule Log being burned for 12 days;
a new animal or human sacrifice being added
each separate day, in honour of the god Jul.

A lantern was to be placed in the window of homes,
to indicate the family’s figurative participation
in the animal and human burnings.
Thus, the custom of Christmas lights on a house.

The belief that Mistletoe could subdue a woman
so that she could not resist any sexual advance
was why any Victorian woman caught under Mistletoe,
accordingly, was expected to submit to a kiss.

Trees in groves were sacred to pagans in Europe.
Bringing the tree into the home
brought that blessing of nature-spirits into the family house.

Now … I understand that the bulk of those
who currently call themselves “Christians”

– with their pocket-novel ‘bibles’,
world-imitating methods, performing pop-groups
and sing-a-long “song leaders” –

have nothing whatsoever in common
with biblical Christianity, but even so …

quite why people who CLAIM to honour Christ,
would want to associate that name
with such practices of Pagan Debauchery,
had always perplexed me.

WOULD they associate their mother’s name
with some brothel?

WOULD they connect their father’s name
with a drunken bawdy house?

WHY then, equate Christ’s
with pagan revelry?

It made me question the integrity of the most
who claimed to be “Christians”

NEW “CHRISTIANITY”

By 1980, “churches” were selling tickets for
every type of crowd-pleasing mass entertainment
imaginable … in 1980, I even saw a choir
transformed into a “Singing Christmas Tree” !

The prefix ‘anti’ certainly has the meaning of “against”,

but it equally denotes the indication of
a “replacement” – a false substitute that is presented
In Place Of … the genuine article.

Even as a little boy, I was aware that no greater
substitute ‘Christ’ … or, ANTI-Christ … exists
than Pride: the worship of Self.

“Me”. My opinion. MY “church”. MY denomination.
(I will tell God how I am going to “worship” him!)
“I Will Be Like the Most High”
– THAT … is Antichrist: a Religion … where “Me”
plainly over-rides humility to biblical example.

“Christmas” – like many “Christians” –
has nothing to do with Christianity.
“Keep the ‘Christ’ in Christmas”
is the clarion cry of church-going multitudes.

But Christ was never in “Christmas”.

And it has always staggered me, to see the
pseudo-theological gymnastics that folk will do
to ‘defend’ this particular pagan festival.

Christmas … is a temporary madness.

The sun reaches its ebb at the winter solstice,
the 22nd of December in northern regions,
‘dipping’ below the horizon
before ‘rising again’ after three days.

It was characteristic of the feast of Saturnalia,
that people would ‘wassail!’ – toast each others’
good health with liquor … on Christmas Eve, in an
emotionally-inebriated stupor of “cheer” and “friendship”
– which will promptly vanish two days later.

Everyone seems to unite at “Christmas”.

People who claim to be Christians, yet do all they can
to imitate the world at large … join Atheists
who despise Christians … in a seasonal sentiment
that has nothing to do with Christ.

And all of them fully convinced of their own
‘good will towards men’ … at Christmas.

People love “Christmas” …
because Christmas means fun.

Affixing “Baby Jesus” simply allows
self-imagined “holy” folk to “join the party”.
A use of the name of God which, I truly suspect,
is nothing short of blasphemy.

Those who genuinely love God above self
will fear to offend his holiness:
if they might possibly err in matters controversial,
they will err on the side of separation from the world,
rather than imitation of it.

“Christmas” has not one thing to do with Christ,
and – for the life of me –
I could never understand the obsession
amongst church-goers to insist that it does.

Have a FAMILY holiday.
Give presents.
Enjoy a large meal.

BUT do not make your frivolity out to be
some type of ‘reverence’ unto God.

Party Time … THAT is The Meaning of Christmas.

And after all the greed, good times, and gluttony has finished,
people will remain the same Self-centred, Self-seeking
and Self-motivated creatures that they have been
– and will, perhaps, continue to be – for the duration
of their lives.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are excuses
for ‘feeling good’ – hedonism without guilt.

And what a shame it is that these same partying multitudes
would not change their lives: think less of pleasing Self,
and show good will, courtesy, and consideration

… for the other 363 days in the year.

Somehow, I cannot help but suspect that this will be
just another Christmas.

P Livingstone
25th November, 2012