The December holidays recede gently from view. We are now 3 full months away from them.
We can visit the “Christmas” issue with some objectivity. It’s a problematic term. Many people resent it. Even Christians (the advantaged party) have their doubts. Non-Christians certainly do. This is not an issue that’s going away. Every year’s end, it gets a little worse.
My suggestion: Get rid of “Christmas.” Christ is not universally worshipped. Even by Christians, the mass of Christ is not especially well or scrupulously celebrated. Christmas turns out to be a religious disappointment and a cultural provocation.
I’m not suggesting that we celebrate nothing. The ritual cycle of contemporary culture needs a door stopper, an event at the end of the year to which everything runs up and ends, that the cycle may start again.
We don’t have far to look. Built into the event is a profane counterpart to Christ called Santa. A little polishing and promotion and we have our substitute.
For most everyone, Santa’s the man, a figure of reckless good humor and vast, unrelenting generosity.
Call it “Santamass.” Make it celebratory. We get to keep the parties, decorations, trees, gifts and celebration. But now it’s interdominational and ecumenical. Once more, we’re all in the same boat.
I know some people will argue that Santa is too commercial, too much associated with Coca-Cola and other brands. There’s a simple way to fix this. Let’s call the holiday “Santa Massive,” where “massive” stands for whopping great party.
The real question is whether we can master that Islands accent that wicks “massive” upwards at the end. And with Santamass(ive) that’s really all we have to worry about.
Hey presto, a end-of-year holiday without discomfort or ambivalence. (And people say anthropologist don’t really make themselves useful!)
Yeah, Christmas is grossly (over)commercialized. And yes, lots of Christians — we Calvinists, especially — have always had issues with celebrating the birth of Jesus. (And that was long before the holiday resembled in any way what it’s become.)
Still, taking Jesus out of it to make it more palatable to non-Christians? If you’re a non-Christian who has issues with Christmas, you have problems I can’t help you solve.
A solution in search of a problem. Case in point #2,947,683,595 to explain why America won’t entrust liberal Democrats with power.
Ironically, it is Jesus who provides the commercialization of Christmas. Jesus provides the rationalization we need to go out and buy stuff. Without Jesus backing up Christmas, we have no impetus to go on a spending spree. Without Jesus, Santa Day just becomes another day off, just like the other holidays.
Non-Christians get caught up in Christmas despite themselves. Non-Christians cannot resist those fabulous discounts not to mention the pressure applied on them by their children.
Every movement tends to spawn a counter-movement. There is a “Keep Christ in Christmas” effort under way. I can only wonder if the Big Box Retail stores are contributors? Strange bedfellows indeed.