Saturday, November 26, 2011

Rambling of a Normal Guy: The "War" on the holidays.

Welcome to another edition of Ramblings of a normal guy. This is my special column, where I go off on wild rants complaining about the things that happen and affect my (and ours) everyday life. Because of the excessive amounts of stupidity that will be featured, a large amount of inappropriate language will most likely be used. Also expect a large helping of calling out and "I don't give a crap". Rated M for mature, and read at  your own risk.

Ah December,

For as long as I can remember, it was a super special awesome chocolaty covered the time that meant free presents and days off from lame school.  Oh yea! Take that stupid school and your “learning” and “building a better future”! Who needed such trivial things when I could devote my beautiful mind (lol @ Bush for that) to more important mental actives like building a kick ass snow fort to destroy my enemies with. Yes world, even at the tender age of ten I was mass producing snow castles to save us from the zombie apocalypses. You're welcome. However a curious thing happened as time progressed, and as I grew older. I learned that life wasn't all about bribing Santa with good behavior and getting the shit I wanted. No, there was also the “giving” part too. You see, this time of year isn't just about getting free stuff, it's a time to reflect on just how much our lives really don't suck (serious try being homeless first) and to share in the spirit of giving and good will to all. I don't know about you guys, but this is certainly something we can use more of... all year around too. As time continued to pass, as so it always does, I had the unfortunate meeting of another thing that happens this time of year. It’s when the entire population of "religious" dumbass comes out to pollute the world with their meaningless drivel and all around bullshit. This year, and I am sure for many years to come, it just seems like any idiot with a computer is trying to claim some type of a victim complex. Search any media sight; blogs, google, twitter, Facebook, TV (or hell, even Fox, they love to cause drama), and you will always see at least one of the following two examples posting or rambling off;

The first of the two is the “Victim complex” Fucktard. These types of people make it their life desire to be the center of attention. Were they not hugged enough as a child? Do they just want to be famous or popular on the internet? Either way, these people wish for nothing more than hordes of people (either physically or over the net) to take pity on them and shower them with attention. They will find anything, nothing is sacred to them, not even religion, that is a "hot topic" and needless attach themselves to it, calling themselves the victim. When December rolls around, you can often hear them saying;

“I am so sick of everyone saying “happy holidays”. This is a Christian nation and as such, we ALL celebrate Christmas! END. OF. STORY. Its CHRISTmas, not happy holidays not Xmas! Stop being so disrespectful, it’s the day of Christ’s the word’s savior was born!  Stop this war on Christianity, stop oppressing and censoring me, and put the CHRIST back in Christmas. “

Either in response to, or as a after birth to the above, we have the second of our examples, the Know it all Douchebag. These people claim to know everything about everything, have vast sources of knowledge that would make the Library of Alexandria look like shit, and love to cause drama for shits and giggles. You can easily spot them when reading a very nice article wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. In this same article that no one is force feeding religion or calling for burning the world, this person will post;

“Christmas was stolen from the poor persecuted Pagan’s by warmongering Catholics, FACT. They are nothing more than greedy aholes who want to take and steal everything for themselves. ALSO FACT. Now go away and stop shoving the bible down us.”
When I sat down and began writing this, the urge in me to reach out and smack some idiots grew and grew. What have we as a people become? What ever happen to good will to all and the week long celebration of being alive? Oh sure, there are idiots who would like nothing more than to watch all of Christianity (even the good people) burn, just as there are people who would love for all non-Christians burned at the stake. But now is not the time for that utter bullshit. Beat the kids upside their heads and take away their toys. Remove the mic from the loud mouth "BURN IN HELL" preacher, take the laptop off the troller and general douchbag, block out the shitty YouTube channel of JesusWarrior777, remove the webcam from the "Christianity is only here to steal and kill" and by the God's turn off Fox. In fact, how about we just take what follows and throw it out the window....

"Its Christmas not Xmas!"
This persistent, and rather annoying, misconception resurfaced some years ago when evangelist Franklin Graham and CNN journalist Roland S. Martin. Graham raised a fuss over it. According to them, abbreviating Christmas to Xmas was a grave insult to Christianity and a "war" on Christ himself. As a person who paid attention in history class, and would later foster a great love for history, a part of me wants to die every time I hear this. What such evangelist fails to realize (or just refuse to see) is that the symbol X, Xt and XP have a long and respectable history with Christianity, and has NOTHING to do with being insulting or launching a way. In fact, all you have to do, looking on Wikipedia (and the linked sources) to see why;

Xmas is a common abbreviation of the word Christmas used by Christians for a least a thousand years, if not more. As stated above, there is a annoying misconception that the word Xmas is a secular attempt (or "war") to remove the religious tradition from Christmas by taking the "Christ" out of "Christmas". However this is simply not the case. The "-mas" part is from the Latin-derived Old English word for Mass, while the "X" comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek word Χριστός, translated as "Christ".

If we continue with this, we also see the word "Christ" and its compounds, including "Christmas", have been abbreviated in English for at least the past 1,000 years, long before the modern "Xmas" was commonly used. "Christ" was often written as "XP" or "Xt"; there are references in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as far back as 1021. This X and P arose as the uppercase forms of the Greek letters χ and ρ used in ancient abbreviations for Χριστος (It's Greek of Christ), and are still widely seen in many Eastern Orthodox icons depicting Jesus Christ. The labarum, an amalgamation of the two Greek letters (the big picture to the left), is a symbol often used to represent Christ in Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Christian Churches.

The Oxford English Dictionary and it's supplement have cited usages of "X-" or "Xp-" for "Christ-" as early as 1485. The terms "Xtian" and less commonly "Xpian" have also been used for "Christian" as far back as 1640 and "Xtianity" for "Christianity" from 1634 on. So as we can see for ourselves X does not mark the spot for "opperession, removal and war"

"Christmas wasn't in December, FACT! Christian stole this day from the persecuted Pagans! FACT!"
Thanks to my dealings with the WBC and general religious asshats, I have come to have a certain degree of familiarity with the Christian bible *1. Because of this, I can safely and certainly say that the first part of the above statement is actually true. The child Christ wasn't born in on December 25th in the year 0 AD. Bible accounts actually suggest more of a early spring to early summer time frame. However today, Christians around the world join hands and celebrate his birth on this date. So how the hell did December 25 come to be associated with Jesus’ birthday? Let's do a bit of biblical and historical searching.

When we first look to the bible, because you know the NT is all about Jesus, we are offered few clues. The celebrations of Christ's birth are never mentioned in the Gospels or Act, while the few places his birth is mentioned offer fewer clues still. One such example of reference states "shepherds tending their flocks at night when they hear the news of Jesus’ birth" (Luke 2:8). As stated and suggested by biblical experts, such a reference would suggest a spring time frame for in the colder months of December, sheep might well have been corralled. To compound the issue, early Christian writers such as Irenaeus or Tertullian make no mention of any birth celebrations, while the Origen of Alexandria even goes as far as to say any type of birth celebration would be nothing more than pagan practices. Yes, even back then their where religious assholes. To find the earliest mention of December 25 as Jesus’ birthday we have to refer to historical records in the mid-fourth-century, or three hundred years after the birth of Christ. During this time, we find Christianize Rome accounting almanacs that lists the death dates of various Christian bishops and martyrs. In this book we can find December 25 marked as natus Christus in Betleem Judeae or “Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea.

However we are still left with the burning question, just how did the 25th of December becomes the Christmas we know today? The truth is we can never be entirely sure and can only guess at what history provides us. What did happen and still does today during the December holidays was the celebration of Yule and Saturnalia which included various customs of gift giving, decorations of greener times, lights, feats and kick ass parties. Pagans love to party. It was time when the great Sun god was reborn, when the cold and bitter winter months slowly waned and soon spring would be here. So yes, elements of the festival that developed from the fourth century until modern times may well derive from pagan traditions with the actual date might really derive more from Judaism—from Jesus’ death at Passover, and from the rabbinic notion that great things might be expected, again and again, at the same time of the year—than from paganism. Then again, in this notion of cycles and the return of God’s redemption, we may perhaps also be touching upon something that the pagan Romans who celebrated their pagan rites, and many other peoples since.

But I really have to ask here, does it honestly fracking matter? Christians, like the Pagans of the time, needed something, anything during the cold winter months to latch on to, to give them hope of better and more prosperous times. Saturnalia, Yule, Christmas or whatever you want to call it, is a time of good will and celebrate. Why the hell should I care if you call your God Thor, Thasos, Cronos, G-d or Jesus. If someone wishes you a "Happy Holidays", don’t be a giant douche about it. On the most basic level, these people are wishing you a happy and joyful time. There is no evil intention here to kill Christ or Christianity, so don't add it. The same goes for "Merry Christmas", they are not forcing feeding religion down you, or forcing Christ into your life, on the most basic level they are wishing you a merry 25th of December....

...And is that really a bad thing?

"I am so sick of everyone saying “happy holidays”, its CHRISTmas, the day of Christ’s the word’s savior birth.  Stop this war on Christianity, stop oppressing and censoring me, and put the CHRIST back in Christmas in your store signs!"
Jesus, if you're out there, grant me the serenity to deal with your followers....

In order to properly address such a vain and self center statement, I want to take you into the world of the retail worker. The world of retail is a very competitive and cut throat environment. It’s a world where one mistake could lead to total collapse and where good deeds easily and eagerly goes unnoticed. In this world where profit means life, and by extension staying in business, many stores will resort to even the most minor of gimmicks in order to get the edge. If this means dancing like an idiot in a chicken costume, so be it. If these means huge tacky signs with more lights than should be naturally possible, then so be it. If this means waking up and seeing you’re not the only religious group in town... well then kido suck it up! While some would contribute it to the decline of some shorts, I would prefer to repeat what I already said. People in America are waking up to the fact that Christianity is not the only religion to exist in this Country or even the world. Because of this, and because the customer base is as broad as all hell, many retailers have taken note that Christmas is NOT the only holiday in December… there is in fact a crap ton.

·         Winter Solstice: 21,22 December
·         Saint Nicholas' Day: 6 December
·         Christmas Eve: 24 December
·         Christmas: 25 December
·         12 Days of Christmas: 25 December through 6 January
·         Saint Stephen's Day: 26 December
·         Saint John the Evangelist's Day: 27 December
·         Holy Innocents' Day: 28 December
·         Saint Sylvester's Day: 31 December
·         Watch Night: 31 December
·         Modranect: December
·         Yule: December
·         Hanukkah: Week long in December
·         Yalda: 21 December
·         Saturnalia: First week of the Winter Solstice
·         Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (Day of the birth of the Unconquered Sun): 25 December

Would you really want to be the person tasked with putting up that many signs? Would you honestly want to take the time to properly take them all down too? I’m honestly having cold chills just thinking about it. So for the sake of either simplicity or acknowledging other holidays occur, many store fronts have adopted the  “happy holidays” slogan. Now before we move on to our last point, I want you to take a good long look to the person in the photo. Can you tell with religion they are? Are they Christian? Maybe they are Jewish? Maybe they are nothing at all! In a world where a face can belong to any religion without outwardly showing it, there is nothing wrong with saying "happy holidays". In a world where this person can be any number of faiths, is it not then acceptable not to assume they share your same faith?  Saying "happy holidays" is not declaring war on any religion just as saying "Merry Christmas" isn't declaring war on the Jews.

Something to think about...
"Oh you're so smart, what would a real [Insert religion here] do or say?"
Easy, not be a fucktard and act like a butt hurt twilight fan.

If you are one of my fellow Brothers or Sisters in the Pagan faiths, by Odin, don’t get your panties in a twist ok? If someone wishes you a "Merry Christmas" then take it for what it is. They (at least the noncrazies) aren’t shoving the bible down you; they aren’t telling you to burn in hell, they are wishing you a merry December 25th. Merry and joyous times are a good thing remember? If some random stranger at the store, some old lady at the bus stop, a priest or a nun on the streets or someone at work wishes you a Merry Christmas, don't feel odd or strange wishing it right back. As Pagans, we know sending out positive energy is not only a good thing, but we shall receive positive energy in return (three fold rule if you will).

If you are Christian, sit down and take a deep breath. This may come as a shocking surprise to you, but it really doesn't hurt or affect your “strong and unshakeable” faith in Jesus or any other part of the holy trinity to wish others a happy holiday or a joyful season. You are not pissing on anyone's grave, casting God out of your life or whatever other nonsense you can think up by saying "Happy Holidays". Going to others celebration doesn't encroach on your Christmas celebration of Christ's Birth (so why are you getting others presents again?) and spinning a dradle doesn't dim the lights of your yule inspired Christmas tree. Least we forget while we are too busy playing the victim that Christ doesn’t give a damn about any date on any made up human calendar.  Fucking eh! This is Christ we are talking about, he cares more about you feeding the hungry; he cares about you tending to the sick; he cares about you doing good to those who don't seem to deserve it; he cares about you helping the poor, the depressed, the downtrodden and the weak. He cares nothing about the deal you got at Walmart or what sign is in the fracking window.

Just please, for the love of the Divine, to anyone reading this for whatever reason, remember that December is a joyful time in the middle of the dead winter. Don’t be that guy and ruin it with your drama. Celebrate, be happy, and give praise for what ever divine you believe in!

*1 My friend actually jokes I know more about the bible than most Christians.


  1. I love you, Hank! This is beautiful! You should send it to a newspaper.

  2. Thank you Ms/Mr Anonymous! I thought about submitting it at one point, but then got distracted by cookies and cat videos on YouTube >_>