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Religion, Merriment, and Shopkeeping

Christmas: A Menage of Religion, Merriment, and Shopkeeping

What is a “hot mess” ?

According to the Urban Dictionary, a “hot mess” is when ones thoughts or appearance are in a state of disarray but they maintain an undeniable attractiveness or beauty.

In context, “Although Nicole had just awoken, her boyfriend though she was stunning – she was a hot mess.”

The hot mess of Christmas is impossible to avoid in the modern  Metaverse.

A Pile of Paradox

Since the 4th century, Christmas  has been filled with paradox and contradiction which makes all of us feeling folks nervous. Here are a few of those paradoxes:

  • The date of December 25th  was affixed by a Roman emperor in the 4th century and has  absolutely nothing to do with the date of Jesus’ birth.
  • The most heralded english literature about Christmas, A Christmas Carolwas written by an author who most likely did not believe in the deity of Jesus Christ.
  • The advent of the season is marked by “Black Friday” which tells the world on Monday how America is doing economically (given America is  founded on a consumer-based economy).

As we know,  Santa Claus is based on Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Mara, Turkey  who was ruddy, not white; and of course, Jesus was more likely as black as an Ethiopian, and he certainly was never white.

The War on Christmas

The war on Christmas in America  did not start in the 21st century in America. It began on December 25, 1620 when young Governor Bradford, the leader of the pilgrims (a Christian group) , refused to celebrate “Christmas”(unlike those in the King James Court ),  on December 25th .

December 25th was  built atop a pagan sun holiday associated with Winter Solstice. For Governor Bradford “Here comes the SUN” was  not the same as “Here comes the SON.” 

Instead of merriment, the Pilgrims worked on December 25, 1620,  building a common house where, sadly, half of them (50 of the 102)  would die by spring of 1621.

Being Alive

Consciousness is the most important aspect of “being. We do not experience life unless we are conscious. There can be no heaven and there can be no hell unless we are awake to it.

Absolutely no one knows with certainty what force sparked “Big Bang” , or hatched the“cosmic egg” , or launched the “primeval atom”.

Life is ambiguous. Some of us find our truth in faith. Others find truth in their family, or in themselves or their materialism, or in the fatality built into life.

The greatest gift of life in this country is  that we have free choice. We make the decision on how we live our lives and as to what we find of import to us and those around us. Those of us who put our  faith in Jesus believe that free choice is a God-given right. America has always been a place of many faiths and it was guaranteed to stay that way with the Bill of Rights penned by Thomas Jefferson.

Free choice does indeed extend to Christmas, too. We can stop moping, wagging our fingers and renting our clothes pover whether to say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holiday”.  We have the choice on how to live our lives during  Christmastime.


I state all of  this to say that from the  absolute beginning , the “Christmas holiday” has been a paradox.

Perhaps, we would pop a few less xanax, or  slug down one less shot of scotch, if we were able to rise about the noise of Christmastime. Perhaps, we could quietly decide how to celebrate it, if at all, for ourselves and not because of the barking of  the 24/7 marketing cycle.

Since we cannot ignore it completely, here are the three ways to look at Christmas:

  1. View it as a religious festival that honors the birth of Jesus. “Christmas” is derived from “mass of Christ”. It is important for those of Christian faith, but matters not at all to those who do not practice such faith.
  2. See it as a popular holiday for merry-making. Or as C. S. Lewis  writes about it in his collection of essays, God In The Dock “If it were my business to have a ‘view’ on this (Christmas) , I should say that I much approve of merry-making. But what I approve of much more is everybody minding his own business. I see no reason why I should volunteer views as to how other people should spend their own money in their own leisure among their own friends. It is highly probable that they want my advice on such matters as little as I want theirs.”
  3. The third is the racket of Christmas.”Unfortunately, that is I mean of course the commercial racket,  C. S. Lewis writes,  the interchange of presents was a very small ingredient in the older English festivity. Mr. Pickwick took a cod with him to Dingley Dell; the reformed Scrooge ordered a turkey for his clerk; lovers sent love gifts; toys and fruit were given to children. But the idea that not only all friends but even all acquaintances should give one another presents, or at least send one another cards, is quite modern and has been forced upon us by the shopkeepers.”

Since we exist in the postmodern stew, it is acceptable to have a little from each of the three  or none at all.  Despite the peer pressure, our choice is our choice.

By the way, we become healthier, and liberated when we are actually conscious of the choice we make rather than be agitated in the swim of it.

Something Underneath

All that said, there still seems to be something happening  beyond  the stampedes on Black Friday and the loneliness of the holidays. Call it what you may, but I am calling it mystical.

Against the din there seems to be a little more mercy, a bit more care,  and some additional kindness between people. And that’s all good.  Somehow, whatever faith, if any faith at all, what seems to register is this notion that there ought to be “peace on earth”, and in the end, that this active verb love  is important. So I am sticking with my new name for now, Christhotmess.

It is aligned with that Urban dictionary definition of “hot mess”when ones thoughts or appearance are in a state of disarray but they maintain an undeniable attractiveness or beauty.” 

So, Merry Christhotmess, everyone:-) Peace on earth.