I'm not a religious person. I'm not what you would call spiritual or atheist either. I know that we don't know anything so we can't prove or disprove the existence of anything beyond what we know. You will never hear me say that there is or is no God and that he does or does not need us to follow any particular set of sometimes oddly specific rules.
What I will say is that IF there is a God...I hope he/she/it is what we consider as Good. This blog is not going to digress upon the abstract concepts of right and wrong or if our own understanding of those vague concepts is correct. At least not completely.
This blog post is a suggestion. A tiny little thought that could possibly make you rethink how you see Christmas.
Place yourself in the mind of a child. Perhaps this is easier said than done for you than it was for me. ;)
When you think "Christmas" you probably think, "Toys, Santa, Cookies." Maybe ornaments and lights in there somewhere. There are two relatively omniscient characters in the play called "Christmas." One is the messiah it is named after and the other is a dramatically altered image of a man that at one time actually existed. At least there is some provable history and evidence to the existence of a man known as Saint Nicholas.
What does this mean to a kid?
Well, Santa Claus is a happy, go-lucky man dressed up in a ridiculous outfit and brings you toys and grants wishes if you're good.
Jesus Christ is a man that loves you, bleeds and cries. Kids don't really understand the concept of everlasting life or heaven really. Then, at a very young age, the truth comes out. The fun one isn't real. Yet religious families continue to enforce the existence of the latter. All those miraculous, magical and fun characters of our youth don't exist. But the one that is the least fun, and a bit scary in certain paintings, IS!
Children won't appreciate the depth of the message adults try to portray here. They will only grow up and think to themselves that if they can "shut off" believing in the fun spirits like the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and good ol' Sain Nick, then they can also "shut off" believing in a messiah that will only return to Earth when it is time for us all to die and burn for eternity. Because honestly, who here is without sin?
Though the original Saint Nicholas does have his roots in religion, it makes cents that the jolly image would try to distance itself from the tremendous weight of religious guilt that accompanies Christianity and Catholicism.
Ironically, Christmas in the United States has become more a tradition filled with Pagan habits and symbolism which even the faithful have embraced. That scares me just a bit. Let me explain why.
Lets assume God does exist as the Catholics describe. Let us also assume that Satan exists as well, also as they describe. I'm no genius so you'll forgive the simplicity of my explanation but I hope you'll understand what I'm trying to say here without being offended in any way.
If I were Satan and it was my intention to rob God of his loved ones. I would do it in the most dishonest, devious fashion. I wouldn't be up front. I wouldn't slither to humans and say, "Hey dudes, you can be more powerful than God himself if you eat this magic fruit."
I would slowly, and methodically change what his people's concept of God actually is so the humans mistakenly follow the wrong faith and traditions. I make a mockery of his greatest sacrifice and his most powerful message and instead replace the worship of his own son with the image of a man dressed up as a clown. A clown that gives material items as gifts.
All the while allowing his people to mindlessly recite the very same passages that tell them what they are doing is wrong in the eyes of their own God.
I don't consider myself a devout believer of any one religion because I don't believe religious texts and traditions have gone untouched long enough to still contain UNIVERSAL TRUTH if they ever did.
If I were a Catholic Satan looking upon the Earth as it is now, I would be happy. Assuming of course that Satan is as he is described in the current versions of their bibles.
During these times I see what people consider strict Catholic churches and families decorating trees and placing stars upon them. Celebrating in ways that I still do myself.
When they do it though, it seems wrong. I see Christmas trees in church next to Jesus on the crucifix. I would imagine that is supposed to be blasphemous. If you don't know or understand the book you claim to lead your life by then you truly are the blind and ignorant gerbils those angry atheists claim you are.
That scares me. If you follow what you don't truly believe people like Hitler come to power and terrible things occur.