Archives For Christmas Day

Recreation of the Pilgrim Settlement at "Plymouth Plantation" in Plymouth, Massachusetts

Recreation of the Pilgrim Settlement at  Plymouth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts

Once Again, Sarah Palin Gets Her History Wrong

Contrary to  Sarah Palin’s beliefs, the “war on Christmas” did not begin in the 21st century. It began on Christmas day in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Surprisingly, it was launched by  the first Christians, the Pilgrims. For a while, I lived in the house at 33 Leyden Street in Plymouth  where the first common house was built on Christmas Day, 1620. There was no celebration on that day,  only work.

The Pilgrims suffered a brutal voyage in coming to America and winter was upon them.  They needed to build some quick cover for the ensuing winter.

The Pilgrims considered the celebration of “Christmas” as frivolous. The  wassaling which had become a tradition in the Britain (from which they escaped) led to  all kinds of trouble – thievery and debauchery. Additionally, these Pilgrims  resented Christmas’  pagan origins.  The date of December 25 was originally  a celebration of the sun-god ,Mithra, which occurred at  winter solstice and had nothing to do with Biblical truth.

Dreamers without practical experience

The Pilgrims were courageous dreamers who had no practical understanding of building a community.  They were hat makers and tailors. While they had a deep faith, they knew nothing about agrarian society.  On board the Mayflower were drums and trumpets. There were neither fishing lines, nor plowshares. There was  not a single goat.

The Pilgrims had  no clue that it was not a good idea to arrive in the  new world in the bleak midwinter.  They suffered the consequences of that choice in the winter of 1620 -1621. Half of the 102 Pilgrims died  by spring. Half of the remaining 52 people  were children.

The Indians Saved the Christians

The truth is, had the Wampanoag tribe, under the leadership of  Chief Massasoit,  not come along in the spring  of 1621 and helped the Pilgrims with farming and fishing, the Pilgrims  would not have survived.

The first Thanksgiving was a celebration of the bounty of the harvest of the Pilgrims  that was guided by the Wampanoag people.

Our Ambiguous World

Culture is ambiguous because man created it and man is conflicted.  But beneath the traditions that we have come to believe as “truth”, there always seems to reside a deeper truth  about the indomitable nature of man’s love and spirit.