They’ve stolen Christmas – I want it back!
Stolen! They’ve stolen Christmas! Not just once but lots of times!
I’d quite like it back!
It started as a pagan festival to the sun! – A great celebration to recognize the winter solstice. The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year. After the solstice, despite the rigors of winter that lie ahead, the days begin drawing out – the sun, the giver of warmth, light and life is coming back.
This was a thanksgiving for the bounties of the sun, a last chance for revelry and ceremony to which the community could join to celebrate life, nature and the sun.
There would be a joining of religious ceremony and secular carousing, of feasting, drinking, dance and riot from which many an autumn child would open their eyes to that sunshine.
It was stolen by the Nordic tribes who made it more of a shamanic spiritual ceremony with their animistic worship of trees and use of the mystical drug-induced insights of the tribal shaman who used fly agaric, amanita muscaria, the red and white capped magic mushrooms, to journey through the dimensions to bring back wisdom and insights from the spirit world beyond.
Nowadays we see the red and white cloaked shaman, with his magic sledge and reindeer, flying through the sky, bringing back gifts for all. Those gifts used to be knowledge.
Then came the Christians who purloined it again and redirected its focus. The rebirth of the sun was now the nativity – a child in a manger. Instead of the sun we had the light of god expressed in a small child. It was a birthday. But we still kept a bit of the feasting and drinking – though the begetting of autumn babies was now frowned upon. The emphasis was more on family and worship.
The Victorians did not so much steal it again as refine it. They brought together the many elements from the various traditions and made it more into the type of Christmas to which we are now familiar.
They stole our worship of trees from the Druids and Teutonic tribes – directly from the sacred groves to the Christmas tree and the yule log – the holy yule log the bringer of warmth and light.
They brought our shamanic mysticism from the Nordic tribes with our jolly Father Christmas – Santa Claus – the magic bringer of presents.
They kept vestiges of the feasting and drinking from the pagan festivals but all toned down and civilized.
They added in the nativity and Christian ceremonies with their midnight mass.
They added in Christmas cards and the giving of presents.
Christmas had changed from a festival where the whole village, the community, came together for a day of wild revelry and celebration of life to a more sober time where families came together to share food and drink and love.
Then the corporations moved in and stole it again. They took it over. It became a festival of consumerism. Now it was all about buying, buying and more buying. Everyone had to receive a mountain of presents or it was a failure. Every tree had to be festooned with a mass of baubles and lights. Every house needed decorating and lighting with enough bulbs to light a small city. Every city centre had a Santa. Every shop had an essential set of presents or clothes. We all purchased sufficient food to feed an army of wolverines.
Even the religious icons have been reduced to mass produced consumables. We can line up our plastic nativity scene next to our luminous Jesus, our obese Santa, our chocolate yule log at the side of the artificial Christmas tree. It is easy to see that nothing much is really sacred.
So on Christmas day we don our costumes of garish glitter, exchange our presents, act merry, eat and drink ourselves silly to the point where we can do little more than watch old films that we have seen a thousand times before and wonder what on earth it was all about.
All spiritual content has been reduced to a gesture.
The next day, with a bloated upset stomach, a hangover and a body and mind sagging with exhaustion, we gloomily try to find places for the multitude of pointless presents that we neither wanted, like or need, and finally sit down with a sigh to contemplate that there are only 364 more purchasing opportunities before we do it all over again.
Baaah Humbug!! – I want my Christmas back!