Who owns December 25th?

I find myself bemused by the customary Pagan-Christian chatter over Solstice versus Christmas. “We were here first!”, say the Pagan’s. We had the last laugh!”, say some Christians. “You’re both Pagans!”, say other Christians. Oh, my! I need a Panadol.

I have to admit, I always find it incredibly ironic to witness Wiccans complaining about one religion SAMPLING from another, or dogmatically asserting the ONE TRUE MEANING of the season (just think about it for half a second). I also find it ironic to hear “postmodern missionaries” triumphantly asserting the Christmas metanarrative in a ways which are neither postmodern, nor particularly missional. And let’s not forget the puritans, who in keeping themselves clean tend to head dirt on everyone.

Honestly, what’s wrong with different people celebrating different things on the same day?

4 Comments

  1. Don’t forget, it’s not just the Pagans pointing out the (possibly) Pagan roots of certain Christmas traditions anymore. Now you have some Christians who are pointing them out and insisting that’s why Christmas trees, mistletoe, and similar things are “irredeemably evil” and should be abandoned.

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  2. @Jarred. Christians have been acknowledging the Pagan roots of various Christmas traditions for centuries, or at least some have. For some the adoption seems to have been a deliberate move, for others it was more a case of osmosis. Viola’s book, Pagan Christianity, goes into this in elaborate detail and points out how 80% of what happens every Sunday consists of outside imports. Christianity clothes itself in the customs of every culture it encounters, transforming those customs in the process, and olde England was no exception. Why has it sometimes been a deliberate move? Because Christianity places high value on communication, and not just verbal communication. Putting a star on top of the yule tree, that communicates something, it communicates the Christian story using Pagan paraphernalia. Some Christians affirm this approach, others take exception to it, others are oblivious to it. I get the impression that many Pagans see December as an opportunity to educate Christians about the Pagan roots. But as I’ve said, apart from the puritans, most Christians either already know and are fine with that (since story is more core for us than ritual) or don’t care either way. This then seems to trigger off a kind of verbal turf war, not helped by Christians who see the re-Paganization of Christmas as a threat. I just wonder if we could be more constructive about our communications.

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  3. I had a go at combinining the two (Pagan and Christian) in a blog post… http://humblewonderful.blogspot.com/2011/11/real-meaning-of-christmas.html
    Fact is in Australia, Winter Solstice is even more foreign than the birth of Israels Messiah. We have very different indigineous seasons to the standard four and even by the standard four its definately summer here. So it’s crazy to get back to nature by embracing Winter Solstice at Christmas.

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