Okay, as promised, here are my thoughts about Christmas...
Christ was not born on December 25th. Not even close. Some astronomers believe he was born in early Spring, based on the situation of the bright star. Other historians believe he was born in September, 6 months after passover. So why is his birthday associated with the festivities of December? Because the Church wanted to convert more pagans back in the third and fourth centuries (that's right, three hundred years after Christ), and so instead of forbidding them to celebrate the pagan solstice (well, actually they tried that and it didn't work), they plunked a Christian celebration into the mix and sat back, pleased with how everyone was suddenly so festive about Christianity. (here and here and thousands of other places offer more detailed info.)
Okay, so there's really nothing wrong with all that, is there? I have often thought of moving Annika's birthday to June so that the festivities of the year are spread out a bit more... But here's why I refuse to play along. It bothers me a great deal that we don't honour the earth. The whole destruction of the pagan ways, the death of midwives and medicine women branded as "witches", the shift from the earth as holy to man being given "dominion" over it makes me crazy (don't get me started). It bothers me too much that we are destroying our planet in the name of "progress" and finding any and all excuses not to stop this horrifying trend. My own brother was saying over the holiday that he thinks this whole global warming thing being caused by pollution and MANKIND is just a hoax! He thinks it's just the natural progression of nature, and he's not alone. I could go on and on and onnnnn (trust me) about the follies of our species, but I'll just say this: WHAT IS WRONG with celebrating the earth? WHY does the Christian church find earth wisdom dangerous? Why aren't we bringing back the earth-honouring traditions of yesteryear? Why are we still afraid to call ourselves witches? My daughter has a song (by Anne Hill) that proudly sings "Who were the witches? Where did they come from? Maybe your great great grandmother was one! Witches were wise wise women they say... And there's a little witch in every woman today..." It talks about how the witches were the women who helped with childbirth, who knew how to use the flowers and leaves and bark from the trees to heal people.
Okay, so we don't know what went on in the crazed minds of the crusaders or anyone using religion as a weapon... But is this really so threatening to us now? Why wouldn't we choose to teach our children about earth wisdom? Well, this is my point. I choose earth wisdom. I choose pagan. I have nothing against Christ, truly. I think if we followed his true teachings our world would be a very peaceful, earth-honouring, amazing place. But out of principle I choose to call Christmas what it really is: the celebration of the return of the sun, the longest night of the year, the celebration of light... Yule. Winter Solstice. It is not Christmas. So don't send me cards reminding me to "keep the Christ in Christmas" unless you're sending those cards in March or September. And really, what DOES it mean to be Christian if it's not about honouring the creation of God? I choose to find my God(dess) in nature. I choose to worship the Sun of God... and the moon and the stars and the rain and the trees and the earth and ... and from what I know about Christ, I think he'd join me. How about you?