• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • James Freyr
  • Mike Haasl
  • paul wheaton
  • Dave Burton
stewards:
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Joseph Lofthouse
garden masters:
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Steve Thorn
  • Eric Hanson

Christmas and Jesus. I say Merry Christmas, not happy holidays.

 
pollinator
Posts: 8920
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
764
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm an atheist. I see Jesus as mostly a literary character, but concede that he may have been a man who actually lived and died. So I'm not trying to force religion down anyone's throat, by acknowledging that Christmas is a religious holiday.

I was at Starbucks this morning where there are signs saying happy holidays, and there are cups for sale with Santa Claus and the elves on them, but there's no mother and baby and definitely not a sign that says Merry Christmas or anything Christmas.

The music is mind-numbing. I don't want to listen to Eartha Kitt serenading Santa Claus. And there's been enough songs about sleds and snowmen. But they won't play Silent Night or Oh Holy Night or any of that stuff.

The idea is not to offend anyone who isn't Christian. They know this is a religious holiday. Or at least it started out this way. So it's not fooling anybody.

I know Sikhs and Jews who give out presents for Christmas. They have their own holidays, and they use the traditional names so that everybody knows what the holiday is. I'm not offended by that.

 It's Christmas, so let's call it that. I think that Christmas should include Jesus, Mary, Joseph, King Herod, a bunch of wise men and shepherds and anyone else who is part of the biblical story.

Christmas is also a major time for marketing. It became Christmas at Starbucks, the morning after Halloween.☺
 
master steward
Posts: 3071
Location: West Tennessee
1001
cat purity trees books chicken food preservation cooking building homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't participate in any organized religion, I don't identify myself as an atheist and I don't worship anything. For years now I've been combining merry christmas and happy holiday and saying merry holiday.
 
pollinator
Posts: 369
Location: PNW
102
trees tiny house books food preservation cooking homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm agnostic, but celebrate Christmas and winter solstice  and appreciate the more inclusive, all encompassing feel of "happy holidays" because it also covers Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New year's.  
 
master steward & author
Posts: 16872
Location: Left Coast Canada
4025
books chicken cooking fiber arts sheep writing
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Dale Hodgins wrote:

I was at Starbucks this morning where there are signs saying happy holidays,



Happy Holidays!

I didn't know Starbucks was pro-Pastafarian.  Cool!
(doesn't make their coffee taste any better)


The other day I discovered a word for how I was raised: areligious.  Atheist and agnostic are usually defined in contrast to existing religions.  areligious means that religion wasn't an issue.  I doubt many readers here would feel that sett, epi, and ppi are vital parts of your everyday life, because you were raised aweaver (not having anything to do with weaving).  Just like asexual (in a human) means not having anything sexual define their life.  

Christmas was always to be dreaded as an excuse for a feast and a fight.  Most of the relatives are Anglican or Wesleyan, but for them, Christmas was all about Santa, presents, showing off how affluent you are to the relatives, wearing stupid clothes that are too small for you, getting in trouble for spilling food on said ugly clothes, and petty family squabbles.  It wasn't until I was an adult that I understood Christmas had a religious connection.  


As an adult, I choose to see the Holidays as an excuse for a feast with friends.  And presents for their kids.  And thier kids running and screaming and having a really fun time - you can know how much fun it is by how loud they screem.  And decorating gingerbread houses.  And a giant ham cooked the day before so that there would be room in the oven for tonights feast.  And then 12 days of no work that is all mine for finishing up the little things around the house that need doing.  
 
pollinator
Posts: 176
Location: Western central Illinois, Zone 6a
70
hunting trees solar wood heat rocket stoves ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This time of year is more and more introspective for me the older I get. I was raised in a home where we read the Christmas story from the bible every year, at least once, and we still do. Many were not raised that way, so Christmas has a different meaning for them. I think Happy/Merry Holiday is an acceptable way to be considerate of those who may not be of a Christian faith, but celebrate something during that season.

Where I have issue is the use of XMAS. To me that is intentionally trying to take Christ out of Christmas. Even if you do not recognize Christ as a religious figure, there is more and more evidence indicating he was at the very least a historical figure who walked the earth roughly 2000 years ago. The day was set aside to remember his birth. Call it Christmas, or call it nothing.

Dale wrote:It's Christmas, so let's call it that. I think that Christmas should include Jesus, Mary, Joseph, King Herod, a bunch of wise men and shepherds and anyone else who is part of the biblical story.

 
gardener
Posts: 832
Location: South of Capricorn
242
dog rabbit urban cooking writing homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Around here we try very hard to keep things as neutral as possible, although it's not to try to pander to everyone...... I`m no fan of Starbucks, but they are very good at making money (they're not a charity, after all, it's in their interest to please as many people as possible). My own business is small, but I know nothing about my clients' religious beliefs and don't feel it's right to assume. I send out a New Year message, since I came of age in Japan and that is what was done.

But at our other business, a mechanic shop, we have employees who are different flavors of Christian who celebrate in different ways and are mortally offended by each other's practices (which leaves me confused, but I know nothing) plus all kinds of clients. After the first year we decided no decorations, no holiday messages, no nothing, it was simply too much drama. We just want to make enough money to pay the bills, go home and make cookies (or play in the garden). Not saying Starbucks has toddler-like employee skirmishes, but that's how it rolls for us.

Luckily, locally we don't usually say "Merry Christmas" (it's become kind of rare, actually), we say "Boas Festas" which basically means "happy celebrations."  Kind of skirts the issue entirely. Celebrate what you wish, we hope you enjoy it.
 
Tereza Okava
gardener
Posts: 832
Location: South of Capricorn
242
dog rabbit urban cooking writing homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Caleb Mayfield wrote:XMAS.


This used to confuse me so much!
I grew up with Orthodox Jews, for whom not writing the name of God ("G-d") is a thing. I always assumed that Xmas was similar.
I only learned when I got to college that the X is for the Greek Chi, where we get Christ from. It's been in use since the 1500s this way in English. But it's come to be something totally a-religious now. Funny (interesting) how things change over time.
 
r ranson
master steward & author
Posts: 16872
Location: Left Coast Canada
4025
books chicken cooking fiber arts sheep writing
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My history proff explained that X stands for the cross and was short for Jesus to save space in books.  There was a lot of shorthand in early books like this, but most of it went away as paper and printing became cheeper.
 
r ranson
master steward & author
Posts: 16872
Location: Left Coast Canada
4025
books chicken cooking fiber arts sheep writing
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would suggest that Xmas is agnostic or secular, not areligious, because it references religion.  Areligious would talk about a midwinter feast.
 
pollinator
Posts: 148
Location: West Virginny and Kentuck
38
forest garden books building ungarbage
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Growing up, there were trees and stockings and Santa and elves and plenty of gifts.  But the center of our celebration was a sizable Italian crèche set up on the DR buffet.  Mom baked a cake and we sang Happy Birthday at midnight when the infant was placed in the manger.

With my own children and now grandchildren, our nativity set-up gets larger and more inclusive every season.  We bring animals and peoples from all over the world, some modern, even some fictional.  Though my descendants aren't strictly Christians (yet) they understand that these things are important to me and they love parts of it anyway.  You wouldn't believe how rowdy those camels got when my young grandson began helping.  We keep discussing how to add a running water feature every year, but haven't managed that yet.  
 
Tereza Okava
gardener
Posts: 832
Location: South of Capricorn
242
dog rabbit urban cooking writing homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I love the image of your table and your nativity scene, Ruth! We have a little one but there are various stragglers who have gotten added over the years. Penguins, toucans.... and of course, rowdy camels!
 
master pollinator
Posts: 11541
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
805
cat forest garden fish trees chicken fiber arts wood heat greening the desert
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I say "Merry Christmas" back to those who say it to me, and "Happy Holidays" to those who say that.  There are lots of holidays celebrated around the Winter Solstice, so I don't think it's inappropriate to say "Happy Holidays" in general.  It's not just Christmas, because not everyone is Christian.

I celebrate Christmas with my family at my dad's house because I was raised that way and some of my family are Christians.

At home we have a Solstice Wreath with Baby Sun, a Perchta, and some Cavemen, among other figures.

The secular Gift-giving Season starts far too early, in my opinion.  Playing Winter holiday songs before Thanksgiving is just wrong! (to me)
 
Dale Hodgins
pollinator
Posts: 8920
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
764
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My understanding of the Greek X, is that early Christians had a need to hide their identity from Roman authorities, so they used the X. Kind of like the fish symbol which has become popular on bumper stickers and other places.

I'm pretty sure I heard that there were X and fish symbols found in the Sinai desert and at Masada as petroglyphs. People didn't always have spray paint. Sometimes graffiti was also in the form of a petroglyph.

So, there was no intention of eliminating Christ from Christmas. It was simply a way for people to self identify without running afoul of the authorities. I think that the beginning of using it as Xmas was in homage to those people, because it was a declaration of religious freedom.
 
gardener
Posts: 795
218
personal care gear foraging hunting rabbit chicken cooking food preservation fiber arts medical herbs homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I used to also get frustrated with the X. When I delved into it, I found much the same information Dale did, so, I let it go. I can't say I'm entirely comfortable with the X now, because we're not exactly hiding from the Romans, anymore, lol. I still don't use it myself, but, I've at least lost the majority of my prejudice against it.
 
Tyler Ludens
master pollinator
Posts: 11541
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
805
cat forest garden fish trees chicken fiber arts wood heat greening the desert
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
X is short for Greek  Χριστός    Christós
 
master steward
Posts: 5632
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
1549
hunting trees books food preservation solar woodworking
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wow, I always just used the X to save some keystrokes and as an attempt to be less formal.  Who knew I was calling upon Greek history!
 
pollinator
Posts: 546
Location: Scioto county, Ohio, USA - Zone 6b
119
forest garden duck hunting foraging books cooking food preservation woodworking homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
These two videos sum up my feelings on the holiday season. Half of my great grandparents are from Norway and Sweden. I say Gud Jul.



 
pollinator
Posts: 537
Location: Redwood Country, Zone 9-10, 60" rain/yr,
91
hugelkultur dog duck
  • Likes 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't really care what other people choose to say around "the holidays", just like I don't really care in July. I do say Merry Christmas from around December 23rd-25th, but outside of that time I say "Happy Holidays" because a great many other holidays occur over the November-December period. Thanksgiving, New Years, Chanukah, and sometimes other major holidays like Ramadan that float around the calendar. I do think people getting upset about acknowledging that other holidays exist during this time of year is probably a expression of something else bothering them that they read into it, but I do that all the time as a frequently judgmental, projecting ass myself. I also remember my Catholic school teacher pointing out it was very unlikely that Jesus of Nazareth was born on December 25th (the Nazarene desert gets very cold in mid-winter at night, and surviving in labor on a donkey during that would probably require a miracle in itself that likely would have been mentioned). He also pointed out it happened during a period with the Julian Calendar so that would be a different day on our modern calendar regardless. The timing of Christmas by is also pretty darn coincidental with Saturnalia, an important Roman holiday that many current western Christian traditions have reflections of. So I guess my point is I wish we could just lighten the fuck up about it. I think that's what JC would do.
 
Posts: 124
Location: Zone 7a, 42", Fairfax VA Piedmont (clay, acidic, shady)
25
forest garden fungi urban chicken woodworking homestead
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I normally say Merry Christmas, but will offer a Happy Hannukah (or other ethnic holiday greeting) to those I know participate in those events.  "Happy Holidays" just seems too bland to me... a monocultural phrase to excuse a month or two of commercialism.  I prefer to honor local ethnic and sectarian customs - though that could just be me.

And yes, am well aware the holiday is a funky mash-up of Northern European indigenous religion and the Jewish mystery cult that became Christianity.  I find that kind of amazing actually!
 
Dale Hodgins
pollinator
Posts: 8920
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
764
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think it's important to not dig too deep into history on these matters. The Romans wrote everything down I don't believe there is any record of them requiring people to return to their home town for a census. Census people and tax collectors were sent to wherever the people were. Calling for a return would have shut down the economy and overwhelmed the roads.

This girl knows it's Christmas although she has probably never seen snow. I bought gas from her on Mindanao, Southern Philippines. Her co-worker was dressed as a Christmas tree and he was illuminated.
20181207_060505.jpg
party hat
party hat
 
Ben Zumeta
pollinator
Posts: 537
Location: Redwood Country, Zone 9-10, 60" rain/yr,
91
hugelkultur dog duck
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
“ I prefer to honor local ethnic and sectarian customs - though that could just be me. “

That is a great sentiment. Considering that we are in a multi ethic, explicitly religiously pluralist country with millions of non-Christians (and with many very serious Christians who don’t celebrate Christmas or hold the traditional view it is a secondary holiday far less important than Easter), and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, I say, “Happy Holidays.”  
 
Ruth Meyers
pollinator
Posts: 148
Location: West Virginny and Kentuck
38
forest garden books building ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Ben Zumeta wrote: This is all just my opinion based on a flawed memory



Excellent disclaimer!
 
pollinator
Posts: 3285
Location: Toronto, Ontario
404
hugelkultur dog forest garden fungi trees rabbit urban wofati cooking bee homestead
  • Likes 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Happy holidays is most accurate. There are, what, 11 different festivals celebrated by seven of the biggest faiths between the middle of November and the middle of January?

I say whatever the hell I want to say, and everyone else is free to do the same. But getting insulted because someone refuses to acknowledge the specific tradition, religious or not, to which you ascribe, is a little ethno- or culturo-centric to my tastes.

Let's try for a little more tolerance this season, if not more inclusivity. If I address you in my idiom and you address me in yours, why can't we find an equivalency and just get on with it? Why are we such sensitive, selfish, self-centered things, sometimes?

-CK
 
pollinator
Posts: 703
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
77
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I happen to be a practicing Christian who tries to disconnect from institutional religions that use the same label. I thought I'd post because ever since I was a kid the Christmas story bugged me because something just seemed off.
When I started reading all of my bible, I realized that the popular Christmas story isn't anything close to the accounts of Jesus' birth. The first obvious fact is that December 25 is not his birthday and couldn't possibly be at that time of year. Even as a kid I figured that out because I searched for his birth date in the bible and it wasn't there.

The reason you will most often hear is that the date wasn't recorded so that was the date that was chosen (just some random date). As a kid that didn't sit well but I was told to be quiet and stop asking silly questions. Maybe  can answer some of those here because I'm pretty sure lot's of people have the same questions...

Why wasn't his birthday recorded? Because the celebration of birthdays is a not an Abrahamic tradition but a pagan one. OK pretty simple.

Why was a mid winter date chosen instead of a more realistic one? The scriptures describe climatic conditions and human activities around his birth fitting with fall, not winter. Scholars placed it more precisely at around late September 3BC, until computer software that models astronomical cycles was developed and using alignments described in the scriptures identified the date and time of his birth to most likely be in the early hours of the morning on September 11, 3BC which also fits well with the fall prophetic feast of trumpets. So why December 25th? That date is not a chance date at all. It happens to be the Roman feast of Saturnalia (Dec 17 to 23 in the Julian calendar). The Roman god Saturn. The adoption of December 25 by the Roman Catholic Church had a lot to do with that. The word "Christ" simply means "anointed", and there are many "Christs" because an anointing takes many forms. The Roman god Saturn was anointed and is indeed a Christ.

If there are any Christians still reading then here is something you may be very interested in knowing...

God appointed 6 times through the year that were marked for special commemoration. 3 in the spring, and 3 in the fall. It turns out that they are almost certainly prophetic in nature, and all the spring ones have been fulfilled. The first is Passover, where the the Israelites used the blood of the lamb as a protective covering to save themselves in Egypt. It is also the day Jesus died. The events leading up to his death mirror the Passover festival. The second is first fruits, when the Israelites are to offer the first of their grain harvest, and marks the day when Jesus ascended. The third is Pentecost, where the Israelites were to complete counting off 50 days from the Passover (the feast of weeks). It also marks the day when the Holy Spirit first descended (and is why so many people from all those nations happened to be in Jerusalem).

Anyway, if we were supposed to be celebrating Jesus' birth then it would have been recorded. If we were supposed to celebrate it then the apostles would have written about it. But they didn't. They do write a lot about observing the 6 appointed festivals God instructed them to observe. Funny how we Christians sort of dropped those like hot potatoes just like we dropped the 10 commandments... What I find really interesting is the very strong reaction I observe from Christians when I suggest we start celebrating what God tells us to celebrate. I thought it's a pretty good excuse for a party but no apparently it is not

Christmas may have a religious significance, and it certainly has such a significance to practicing pagans. any putting Christ in Christmas makes sense as long as you're clear on which Christ you're talking about. As for me, I stopped saying Merry Christmas in case you hadn't guessed by now lol!
 
Ryan Hobbs
pollinator
Posts: 546
Location: Scioto county, Ohio, USA - Zone 6b
119
forest garden duck hunting foraging books cooking food preservation woodworking homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I wanted to add to my earlier comment. I celebrate several winter holidays. They are Jul/Yule, Wassail, and the New Year.

But since someone mentioned Easter... It boggles my mind when christians celebrate the fertility Goddess Eostre complete with her rabbit familiars and gifts of colored eggs.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%92ostre
 
Posts: 526
60
duck forest garden fish fungi trees food preservation bee woodworking
  • Likes 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This discussion is not about religion or spirituality.  It is about good manners.  People who want to dictate what others say or do in their own businesses are displaying bad manners.  They are acting as bullies.  

I may not agree with all of Paul's rules on this website, but it isn't my website.  I am free to leave or start my own website.  I am not free to declare what rules Paul can or can't make.

Some folks get wound up because the owners of Chick-Filet close on Sundays, in keeping with their religious beliefs.  Are they imposing their beliefs on others?  Not that I can see.  Their employees come in knowing the deal.  Starbucks can do what the want.  It's their business.  If I disagree, I am free take my business elsewhere.  If lots of people feel that way, Starbucks will probably change their behavior.  (I don't think I've ever even been in a Starbucks, so they probably aren't too concerned about my opinion.)  If some business donates money to some cause, I am free to express my displeasure/ pleasure with where I spend my money.

Since when is it wrong to act in accordance with your religious beliefs (with the proviso that you don't get to control or hurt others).  The attempts at controlling, from what I can see, are entirely from a group that insists others not be allowed to speak freely.  There does seem to be an effort by a determined minority to suppress any "Christian" expression.  I don't see the same righteous indignation from the same groups over what amount to harmless expressions of good will by practitioners of other religions.

When did our society get so thin skinned that everyone has to tip toe around trying to avoid offending .0001% of the population.  We need to stop being scared and get our big kid pants on and be real with each other.  Just because you don't agree with someone, doesn't mean they have to change their behavior.

I refuse to allow the PC police to control my mouth. It is not my job to make sure you are not offended.  The fact that I am alive and breathing is going to offend someone.  My responsibility is to exercise what used to be called 'good manners'.  I try to make sure that I make reasonable accomodations for others, but I am not required to let them run my life.  They have a responsibility to exercise good manners also.  There are way too many people running around, looking for a reason to be offended.  

I generally wish people 'Merry Christmas' because that is what I am celebrating.  I realize that not everyone in my area is celebrating Christmas.  I would guess though that about 95% of them are celebrating Christmas in some form, some very devoutly, some in a perfunctory Santa Claus way.  We certainly don't all celebrate it the same, nor do I demand we do.  If you want to celebrate the pagan Yule, fine, wish me a merry Yule.  I'll wish you one back and we might even have an interesting discussion about how you celebrate it and what you are celebrating.  I will probably learn something.  If someone wishes me "Happy Hanukkah" it doesn't bother me in any way, and I'm a little confused why it should.  I can sincerely wish them "Happy Hannukah" and we can both go cheerfully on our way.  If you get upset that someone wishes you "Good Day", it's not the other guys problem.
 
Mick Fisch
Posts: 526
60
duck forest garden fish fungi trees food preservation bee woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Ryan Hobbs said  "But since someone mentioned Easter... It boggles my mind when christians celebrate the fertility Goddess Eostre complete with her rabbit familiars and gifts of colored eggs."



Anyone thinking that Christianity made it through the last 2000 years without being effected by the cultures and people who transmitted it forward is not paying much attention.  That was part of the basis for the reformation.  

People hate to give up their traditional holidays and other traditions.  Many, maybe most of our traditions are pagan with a "christian veneer".   Easter is probably the easiest example.  Here was a holiday with a middle eastern fertility goddess celebrating the coming forth of new life and someone thought, "hey, if I look at this a little differently, it fits Christ's breaking the bands of death.  Folks aren't going to give up the holiday, so we'll just shift the focus and co-opt it."  I think that sometimes we get to wound up about the window dressing, and don't look any deeper.  I don't pretend to understand exactly what ancient pagan beliefs were.  I don't think anyone really knows, because anything transmitted orally over a millenia or two can change.  The influence between religions can got both ways, as groups draw from or try to differentiate themselves from the others.  What we have is mostly scraps of information.  Modern Hindu beliefs may give us more insight in ancient pagan beliefs than what we have written from ancient sources.  

In the case of Easter, I would guess that someone saw a deeper common or at least related belief that both shared.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1328
Location: northern northern california
146
forest garden foraging trees fiber arts building medical herbs
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Nick Kitchener wrote:I happen to be a practicing Christian who tries to disconnect from institutional religions that use the same label. I thought I'd post because ever since I was a kid the Christmas story bugged me because something just seemed off.
When I started reading all of my bible, I realized that the popular Christmas story isn't anything close to the accounts of Jesus' birth. The first obvious fact is that December 25 is not his birthday and couldn't possibly be at that time of year. Even as a kid I figured that out because I searched for his birth date in the bible and it wasn't there.

The reason you will most often hear is that the date wasn't recorded so that was the date that was chosen (just some random date). As a kid that didn't sit well but I was told to be quiet and stop asking silly questions. Maybe  can answer some of those here because I'm pretty sure lot's of people have the same questions...

Why wasn't his birthday recorded? Because the celebration of birthdays is a not an Abrahamic tradition but a pagan one. OK pretty simple.

Why was a mid winter date chosen instead of a more realistic one? The scriptures describe climatic conditions and human activities around his birth fitting with fall, not winter. Scholars placed it more precisely at around late September 3BC, until computer software that models astronomical cycles was developed and using alignments described in the scriptures identified the date and time of his birth to most likely be in the early hours of the morning on September 11, 3BC which also fits well with the fall prophetic feast of trumpets. So why December 25th? That date is not a chance date at all. It happens to be the Roman feast of Saturnalia (Dec 17 to 23 in the Julian calendar). The Roman god Saturn. The adoption of December 25 by the Roman Catholic Church had a lot to do with that. The word "Christ" simply means "anointed", and there are many "Christs" because an anointing takes many forms. The Roman god Saturn was anointed and is indeed a Christ.



i find your take on this pretty fascinating.

somewhat in agreement, but more would say the holiday was co opted by the church, as the most widely practiced religions were pagan ish / indigenous nature based spiritual practices, and celebrations of the winter solstice were already ancient holidays.

and yeah some people have put forward some compelling theories on the actual birthdate of jesus of nazareth, astrologers and astronomers have figured it out and most agree with your time frame, though there's an alternate theory that it could have been the following spring. the astronomical patterns created what is later referred to as the "star of bethlehem" is the major clue thats been used, as well as knowledge of ancient astrology in calculating what would be jesus birth chart. the "star" is believed to have been a rare planetary conjunction, and even fitting it with...a truly exceptional birth chart, if you would be inclined to think on such factors.

anywho yeah, astrologers use one of 2 dates mostly, BUT do keep in mind the calender was changed since that time, also throwing the date off, from our current calender.
 
Ryan Hobbs
pollinator
Posts: 546
Location: Scioto county, Ohio, USA - Zone 6b
119
forest garden duck hunting foraging books cooking food preservation woodworking homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Mick Fisch wrote:

Ryan Hobbs said  "But since someone mentioned Easter... It boggles my mind when christians celebrate the fertility Goddess Eostre complete with her rabbit familiars and gifts of colored eggs."



Anyone thinking that Christianity made it through the last 2000 years without being effected by the cultures and people who transmitted it forward is not paying much attention.  That was part of the basis for the reformation.  

People hate to give up their traditional holidays and other traditions.  Many, maybe most of our traditions are pagan with a "christian veneer".   Easter is probably the easiest example.  Here was a holiday with a middle eastern fertility goddess celebrating the coming forth of new life and someone thought, "hey, if I look at this a little differently, it fits Christ's breaking the bands of death.  Folks aren't going to give up the holiday, so we'll just shift the focus and co-opt it."  I think that sometimes we get to wound up about the window dressing, and don't look any deeper.  I don't pretend to understand exactly what ancient pagan beliefs were.  I don't think anyone really knows, because anything transmitted orally over a millenia or two can change.  The influence between religions can got both ways, as groups draw from or try to differentiate themselves from the others.  What we have is mostly scraps of information.  Modern Hindu beliefs may give us more insight in ancient pagan beliefs than what we have written from ancient sources.  

In the case of Easter, I would guess that someone saw a deeper common or at least related belief that both shared.



Eostre is Germanic. The Particular spelling I used is Old Saxon. She's also the Goddess of the Dawn. Spring and fertility are associated with her only because that is the time when it starts to warm up meaning that she is luring the Sun Goddess Sol.
 
Chris Kott
pollinator
Posts: 3285
Location: Toronto, Ontario
404
hugelkultur dog forest garden fungi trees rabbit urban wofati cooking bee homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
And I was, as it turns out, inaccurate.

Between November 1st and January 15th, there are 29 celebrations spread between seven faith groups. I don't know if this counts atheists celebrating Christmas, so the number could be higher, depending on your accounting of it.

-CK
 
Ryan Hobbs
pollinator
Posts: 546
Location: Scioto county, Ohio, USA - Zone 6b
119
forest garden duck hunting foraging books cooking food preservation woodworking homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Chris Kott wrote:And I was, as it turns out, inaccurate.

Between November 1st and January 15th, there are 29 celebrations spread between seven faith groups. I don't know if this counts atheists celebrating Christmas, so the number could be higher, depending on your accounting of it.

-CK



Yup. Speaking of which, I'm planning to start saying Blessed Solstice to people since many of the holidays land on or near the Winter Solstice. It's a little more understanding without being Hyperinclusive. Most cultures around the world celebrate the Winter Solstice. Hopefully, it will be a bridge for people of different faiths.

 
Dale Hodgins
pollinator
Posts: 8920
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
764
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
For a long time, my Christmas tradition has been to show up at various houses where I wolf down turkey and other things. Then I hand out stuff found in the houses that I work on. The recipients get to listen to me drone on about why we shouldn't buy anything.

There are no little kids in the family and there haven't been for quite a while. Some of my nieces and nephews in Ontario have had children. None of that generation here in British Columbia, have reproduced, so we don't have that whole excited kid anticipating the opening of presents and generally being excited about the day, thing going on. The youngest one is my daughter who will be 25 a few weeks before Christmas. So all of us have seen enough Christmases that we don't get too worked up about it.
......
Last year was the first time in many years that I've taken kids shopping for Christmas, and it was for their own stuff. It was our landlords children in the Philippines. I spent about $65 and got the kids new shoes, shorts, school bags, hair stuff, pencil crayon kits and other school supplies. It was the biggest shopping trip they've ever been on add both girls charged around the Gaisano Grand Mall, giddy in their good fortune. The littlest one tried to climb me several times. She's incredibly strong and can tear your skin off.

There's going to be a big party at our housing complex, that includes music, dancing and a buffet meal. I'm going to spend $10 and get both girls to come over with their mother. Nova has known these children since they were two and three, because she was working for another tenant in that house. Nova has several other young relatives who actually need things, so I'm sure we will take many more kids shopping in the future.

Kids really seem to enjoy Christmas. They start to wish people Merry Christmas sometime in November and I've been told that it used to start earlier and run longer. People from all over the country who haven't seen each other in a long time, along with many foreign workers, return to their homes for the big event.

I've always prided myself on being the biggest and most vocal Christmas cheapskate. I just can't do that in the Philippines, where everyone knows I could easily afford to contribute to the festivities. So I will be saying Merry Christmas much more often from now on.

We walked to the mall. Me and Nova walked. The kids sort of bounced, skipped and floated, they were so excited. It all happened several days after Christmas because I finally got a bank deposit I had been waiting for. I think this made it even more fun for the kids because they had had their big day and examined their little pile of loot, and figured that was it, until we knocked on the door.
20190104_104219.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20190104_104219.jpg]
 
pollinator
Posts: 322
49
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Ryan Hobbs wrote:Yup. Speaking of which, I'm planning to start saying Blessed Solstice to people since many of the holidays land on or near the Winter Solstice. It's a little more understanding without being Hyperinclusive. Most cultures around the world celebrate the Winter Solstice. Hopefully, it will be a bridge for people of different faiths.



Oh dear. What about us Southern Hemispherians who are celebrating the Summer Solstice during that time? We feel left out by your ‘Winter Solstice’ remarks. The most offended among us Southern Hemispherians are those of us who choose to go live in the northern hemisphere and have to hear references to ‘winter’ in December. We’ll welcome your winter references and greetings if made in June, July or August of course, and will commend you for your inclusiveness.

We especially commend you for using the hemispherically neutral greeting of ‘Blessed Solstice’. Please omit any reference to winter when making it.

Sincerely,

Self-appointed representative of the Southern Hemisphere League of the North.
 
Posts: 88
Location: Central Virginia
19
bike medical herbs wood heat
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Dale Hodgins wrote:My understanding of the Greek X, is that early Christians had a need to hide their identity from Roman authorities, so they used the X. Kind of like the fish symbol which has become popular on bumper stickers and other places.

I'm pretty sure I heard that there were X and fish symbols found in the Sinai desert and at Masada as petroglyphs. People didn't always have spray paint. Sometimes graffiti was also in the form of a petroglyph.

So, there was no intention of eliminating Christ from Christmas. It was simply a way for people to self identify without running afoul of the authorities. I think that the beginning of using it as Xmas was in homage to those people, because it was a declaration of religious freedom.





Yes, the X is the Greek letter chi, first letter in "Christ". You'll see in churches the combined chi-rho, which looks like an X and a P superimposed, and obviously those are the first 2 letters of "Christ". The word "Christ", after all, is Greek, not Hebrew or Aramaic. The name Jesus is Aramaic, Yeshua.

Linguistically, the Greek "Christos" is cognate with the Sanskrit "Krishna", but never mind that for now...
 
Victor Skaggs
Posts: 88
Location: Central Virginia
19
bike medical herbs wood heat
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Mick Fisch wrote:This discussion is not about religion or spirituality.  It is about good manners.  People who want to dictate what others say or do in their own businesses are displaying bad manners.  They are acting as bullies.  

I may not agree with all of Paul's rules on this website, but it isn't my website.  I am free to leave or start my own website.  I am not free to declare what rules Paul can or can't make.

Some folks get wound up because the owners of Chick-Filet close on Sundays, in keeping with their religious beliefs.  Are they imposing their beliefs on others?  Not that I can see.  Their employees come in knowing the deal.  Starbucks can do what the want.  It's their business.  If I disagree, I am free take my business elsewhere.  If lots of people feel that way, Starbucks will probably change their behavior.  (I don't think I've ever even been in a Starbucks, so they probably aren't too concerned about my opinion.)  If some business donates money to some cause, I am free to express my displeasure/ pleasure with where I spend my money.

Since when is it wrong to act in accordance with your religious beliefs (with the proviso that you don't get to control or hurt others).  The attempts at controlling, from what I can see, are entirely from a group that insists others not be allowed to speak freely.  There does seem to be an effort by a determined minority to suppress any "Christian" expression.  I don't see the same righteous indignation from the same groups over what amount to harmless expressions of good will by practitioners of other religions.

When did our society get so thin skinned that everyone has to tip toe around trying to avoid offending .0001% of the population.  We need to stop being scared and get our big kid pants on and be real with each other.  Just because you don't agree with someone, doesn't mean they have to change their behavior.

I refuse to allow the PC police to control my mouth. It is not my job to make sure you are not offended.  The fact that I am alive and breathing is going to offend someone.  My responsibility is to exercise what used to be called 'good manners'.  I try to make sure that I make reasonable accomodations for others, but I am not required to let them run my life.  They have a responsibility to exercise good manners also.  There are way too many people running around, looking for a reason to be offended.  

I generally wish people 'Merry Christmas' because that is what I am celebrating.  I realize that not everyone in my area is celebrating Christmas.  I would guess though that about 95% of them are celebrating Christmas in some form, some very devoutly, some in a perfunctory Santa Claus way.  We certainly don't all celebrate it the same, nor do I demand we do.  If you want to celebrate the pagan Yule, fine, wish me a merry Yule.  I'll wish you one back and we might even have an interesting discussion about how you celebrate it and what you are celebrating.  I will probably learn something.  If someone wishes me "Happy Hanukkah" it doesn't bother me in any way, and I'm a little confused why it should.  I can sincerely wish them "Happy Hannukah" and we can both go cheerfully on our way.  If you get upset that someone wishes you "Good Day", it's not the other guys problem.



First, there are no "PC Police".

This argument over Christmas mostly regards government, which is enjoined by the First Amendment NOT to express support for any particular religion over any other. That is why govt entities should not be saying "Merry Christmas" or displaying Nativity scenes, any more than they should be sanctioning (positively or negatively) Channukah, Eid, Holi or any other religious observation.

Who has been forcing themselves on others would be Christians. Pretending that if we do not accept their hegemony we are declaring "War on Christmas" is just part of their overall push to have their religion as the national one, to have it in the schools, to have it in all of our faces.

If some individual who is Christian says "Merry Christmas" to me I am not offended and will respond in kind. I sometimes say "Assalaam Aleikoum" to Muslims, and for the same reason, that I find no reason not to show respect for everyone's faith and culture. I don't have to convert to Christianity or Islam to be polite to their adherents.

I'm pagan with Hindu trimmings, but I do not insist that Starbucks put "Namaste" or "Isis Isis Ra Ra Ra" on their cups. I like the approach of some Hindus who, when passing a church, will say, "Jai Sri Jesus", as they would say to a Hindu deity.

As Benito Juárez said, "El respeto al ajeno es la paz." (Peace is respect for the outsider, the "other".)

So Merry Christmas everyone! Happy Hannukkah! Hare Krishna! Salaam! Enjoy the solstice time! And everyone needs to LIGHTEN UP in this country (USA)!
 
Mick Fisch
Posts: 526
60
duck forest garden fish fungi trees food preservation bee woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I want to address an underlying misperception is see here.  I am not supporting any particular group or trying to establish what is right.  I want to address basic realities.  I am not going to address the justice or injustice of history here.

First, recognize that our labels are generalities and in some ways inaccurate, in others quite accurate.

I am going to say America is a Christian nation, but before you pull the torches and pitchforks, hear me out.

Everyone knows we have rich parts of town, poor parts of town, ethnic parts of town, and we accept and use these terms in everyday speech, even though we realize that not every resident in that part of town fits the generalization.  Obama's statement that the USA is and always has been a Muslim country was typical political bullshit and, I think, was recognized as such by basically everyone.

I think everyone recognizes, for all practical purposes, Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country.  I'm sure there are people who aren't muslim living there, but Islam (with some pre-Islamic influences) has had an overwhelming influence on the culture, laws and customs.  Saudi Arabia enforces this in their laws.  Islam is their official state religion.

India does not have an official religion.  Realistically though, the majority of the population is Hindu, with relatively large Muslim and smaller Christian minorities.  Of course this has effected their laws, customs and mores.  There are probably many areas of India we could call Hindu, and some areas we could call Muslim without being too far off, even though these areas have small populations that don't fill that bill.  

Prior to European settlement, the inhabitants of that land had various religious beliefs.  When the European settlement happened, it came from countries where the populations were overwhelmingly (>90%) Christian.  (I realize and accept the fact that their Christianity contained a lot of pagan elements, i.e. Christmas and Easter, but for lack of a better word, I will call their belief system and world view 'Christian' or maybe 'European Christian').  The areas they took over became 'Christian'.  Maybe a better way to say it is 'europeanized'.  The overwhelming majority of the people had a certain culture, even though there may have been minorities from different cultures living in the area.  There were areas where european culture melded with to local cultures (Mexico) because the local population was largely not replaced.  Other areas where essentially complete replacement occurred (Chicago, Boston, New York).  I don't think it is out of line to say the areas where complete replacement happened became Christian.  The melded cultures are a blend, but most would accept the 'Christian' label, although slanted a different direction.

Traditional american culture has some important influences from african and native american cultures, but the majority of american culture, for better or worse, is what we could call "european" of a variety most would call 'Christian'.  This 'general culture' has been the basis of our laws, customs and mores.  In this way I would say America is a 'Christian nation'.  This isn't set in stone.  It may change in the future due to immigration, shifting social mores, etc, but at this point I would say the USA is still a 'Christian nation", in the same way 9th century Norway and even early 10th century was Pagan, even though there may have been some christians living there.  

Our constitution and political customs reject the idea of a 'national religion' or giving a single religion preference.  I agree with that, partly because I have lived in areas where the overwhelming majority went to a certain church and I don't think it's healthy, either for the majority or minority, for different reasons.  We sharpen up by rubbing against other ideas.  Different belief systems, examined, show us the inconsistancies in our own actions or beliefs.  

Victor Skaggs said This argument over Christmas mostly regards government, which is enjoined by the First Amendment NOT to express support for any particular religion over any other. That is why govt entities should not be saying "Merry Christmas" or displaying Nativity scenes, any more than they should be sanctioning (positively or negatively) Channukah, Eid, Holi or any other religious observation.

 With the exception of a few die hards, this argument is about 2 generations past it's legitimacy date.  There was a time when Christmas was openly celebrated by govts. in the US.  That day is gone.  The common culture has moved past it, due to successful lawsuits based on the recognition that public money or power should not favor one religion over another. We still have school winter break around Christmas.  I think this is for practical reasons.  Most people celebrate Christmas, many travel.  I lived in an area where they closed the schools the first week of deer hunting season for the practical reason that so many students and teachers wouldn't be there.

The separation of church and state was originally to keep the State for either controlling the church, or to support one church over another (the State, after all is the one that controls the police and army).  We've somehow twisted that to the idea that a church should not be able to express an opinion that may be termed political.  This is historically inaccurate.  Churches have always expressed opinions that conflicted with some peoples politics.

All that said, wishing someone a 'Merry Christmas', 'Happy Kwanza', etc. is similar to wishing them 'Good Day'.  If  someone doesn't want to have a good day, that's their own business, but I can still wish them 'Good Day'.  Telling either the minority or the majority that they can't wish somebody a good day in their own way is just stupid and wrong.

 
pollinator
Posts: 411
Location: San Diego, California
64
forest garden trees rabbit chicken food preservation building woodworking greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here's another history video that's pretty fun (by one of my favorite creators):



It's more about Santa than the Holiday itself, but Santa definitely informs on most peoples perception of the holiday.


In terms of contributing the discussion at hand - as a Christian myself, I'm happy to celebrate Jesus' birth any day of the year - not as a religious observance (which is not necessary, spiritually speaking), but just in genuine thankfulness and gladness at His coming.  

Christians celebrate Jesus' death and resurrection in concurrence with Jewish Passover(calculated by Lunar Calendar) for historical reasons; we don't choose this date to coincide with pagan Eostre or the other fertility observations.
 
Chris Kott
pollinator
Posts: 3285
Location: Toronto, Ontario
404
hugelkultur dog forest garden fungi trees rabbit urban wofati cooking bee homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Mick, what used to be termed "good manners" was actually the devolution of stricter codes of behaviour that not only tolerated, but codified discrimination.

And while I agree that there are people who seem to look for reasons to be offended, if you aren't responsible for the offense you cause, who is?

The attitude that suggests that we only have to be culturally appropriate within the bounds of our set cultural and sociopolitical bounds, and need only judge politesse by our own personal standards,  though the cross-cultural offenses are plain to be seen, is problematic in my opinion. It suggests that there is only room for your worldview.

I think such narrowly-defined "manners" equate to rudeness when they are deaf to the actual needs of others, the accomodation of which is why manners and etiquette evolved in the first place.

-CK
 
Mick Fisch
Posts: 526
60
duck forest garden fish fungi trees food preservation bee woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Chris, I'm sorry that my comment upset you.  I am unconvinced that good manners are unimportant since every society I know of has them.  When I say "good manners" I'm not talking Emily Post, I'm referring to the common considerations and customs that allow hairless apes to live in groups.  Part of that is recognizing positions in social hierarchy, for better or worse.

Society is governed far more by manners and custom than by laws.

To quote the song, A Garden Party, "You know you can't  please everyone, so you've got to please yourself."

You're probably familiar with the saying "an armed society is a polite society".  Without going into what "should be" be as aposed to "what is" good manners allow us to live together with a minimum of violence and a maximum of cooperation and good will.  Of course my idea of good manners has some differences from those of someone from a very different culture.  If I move to their country, common sense says that I should learn what their manners are if i want to avoid needless trouble.  For example, I know one culture where driving up to a house, getting out of the car and knocking on the door is considered rude and invasive.  Polite people might tap the horn to let them know your there, then you wait to see if they want to talk to you.  If they don't come out, you leave.
Once I know that, both common sense and my own sense of manners says I shouldn't go up and knock on the door.

I, just like most people, am willing to make what I see as reasonable adjustments for other peoples comfort.  That is seen as good manners just about everywhere.  However, just like I don't have the right to dictate their behavior, they don't get to dictate mine.  Some might say that makes me an asshole.  Their entitled to their opinion.

This is a real problem with multi-culteralism.  Each society has manners, norms, customs and laws that allow people to live together with a minimum of violence.  Many of these are common, some might be universal.  The ones that aren't can cause real conflicts.  The idea,"Let's all just be cool" works until some one, or worse, some group isn't.  Eventually the groups will come to a common agreement, but until then it can be messy.

Of course, as you noted, manners can also used to establish and maintain social dominance.  It doesn't mean good manners aren't valuable.  Just like any tool or social construct, they can be used for good or evil.
 
passwords must contain 14 characters, a number, punctuation, a small bird, a bit of cheese and a tiny ad.
permaculture bootcamp - learn permaculture through a little hard work
https://permies.com/wiki/bootcamp
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!