Well, it’s now Christmas Day, so I might as well say a bit about it. As Rose said in a recent post, it’s a little odd how the “Keep Christ in Christmas” crowd doesn’t seem to care about the birth of their savior being co-opted by crass commercialism. In fact, wasn’t part of Bill O’Reilly’s beef that stores WEREN’T forcing Christmas down everyone’s throat? (And even then he was wrong; apparently Christmas decorations everywhere don’t matter unless someone SAYS the word “Christmas.”) Well, at least it seems odd at first, but when you think about it, isn’t it kind of typical for those with the God Bless America viewpoint? It’s the Holy Trinity of Jesus, the American Flag, and the Almighty Dollar. I almost miss when the main thing people bitched about was how Santa Claus had stolen Jesus’ birthday.
With the modern Christmas Warriors, it doesn’t seem to matter what you do with Christmas, as long as you CALL it Christmas. And hey, I’m a supporter of Secular Christmas. Really, the Santa myth is about generosity and charity, right? The fact that some of us have turned it into a celebration of materialism and seeing how much of a haul you can get isn’t Kris Kringle’s fault so much as it is a sign of the greediness of children, and of people in general. I don’t even know that I’m inherently against consumerism. Material goods aren’t everything, but it would be a lie to say they can’t be fun. There has to be a line somewhere, though, right?
Anyway, the way I see it, the holiday we now know as Christmas was basically taken from the Romans, so why is calling it by the name Christians gave it so important? It’s really a solstice celebration, even if calling it that nowadays sounds suspiciously New Agey.
So does Yule, to a certain extent, although that name has become merged with Christmas to the point where you can mention a yule log without being accused of hating Jesus.
Yule was actually a solstice celebration in northern Europe, although the term can get a little confusing, as it can refer either to the specific festival or to the general time of year. But then, I guess we do that now with Christmastime. It seems that the original Yule celebrations involved the sacrifice of animals to Odin, but as Christianity spread into northern Europe, it gradually came to just be an alternate name for Christmas. So, have a merry Christmas, a cool Yule, and happy holidays!