Knight Of The Mind

I'll do my best to present a philosophical and generally conservative look at current events and life, the universe and everything. Readers are invited to take all that's posted herein with a grain of salt. or if they prefer, a grain of salt, a slice of lime and a shot of tequila.

Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Greetings and welcome. My name is Steve, I'm 35 years old and I work for the US Army as an Operations Research Analyst. Hence my blog title Knight Of The Mind.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Why Happy Holidays Just Won't Cut It.

Everyone looks forward to Christmas. It's a redemptive time of year for many of us. The people we've forgotten or overlooked in the past 12 months are suddenly forefront in our minds. We all, at least I do, strive to reconnect with family and friends that I don't get to see everyday.

These traditions are part and parcel to our holiday celebrations. It's the spirit of the Christmas Season and it brings a welcome levity to the dull slog of Winter and a fitting coda to another year's striving. However, the very underpinnings that make Christmas a spiritual holiday of redemption and forgiving are under attack in our media and in our marketplace.

Christmas stands athwart what many view as a necessary and inevitable march towards secularism. Those who deride the Christmas Holiday will tell us that religion is just so much mumbo-jumbo and ritual; like the spells a wizard casts in an Advanced Dungeons and Dragons game. Fun, but not serious or related in any way to our everyday lives. The graveman of their objection to Christmas is a firm and long-standing mental abnegation of the existance of Christ.

What these doubters fail to grasp is that everything good associated with Christmas flows from the religious symbolism of the holiday. God sent Christ to Earth to redeem mankind. Once The Almighty has done that, the least I can do is call my mother in law and wish her Merry Christmas. The Peace of Christmas is the redemption of mankind through the life and death of Christ.

A failure to grasp the religious significance of Christmas is what Tupac Shapur would call a failure to see the whole game. It leaves a person sitting at a party, somewhat pickled on eggnog, and not quite sure why anyone would spend a bunch of time putting ornaments on a tree. Without the religious context, Christmas becomes what Lucy in The Peanuts Christmas Special called "The Gift-Getting Season."

Like all worldviews rooted in purely objective, corporeal fact, the non-religious Christmas proves a non-starter. An agnostic Christmas is a big logistical pain in the neck, not a redemptive reunion of family and friends. I don't think you can have a Merry Christmas without Christ, any more than you can effectively explain human behaivior through dialectical materialism.

Our spirituality seperates us from the salacious monkeys in the local zoo. This is why Happy Holidays just doesn't cut it. it has to be Merry Christmas. And while you're at it, have a successful New Year as well.

Update I: Paul at Wizbang gives us about as thurough an argument against my assertion as you'll find. It's a fairly well-written essay linking Christmas to pagan Solstice Festivals. Still on the skimpy side compared to the four Gospels, but at least there are a few agnostics out there that shower regularly and can write a coherent sentence without their nose rings itching. It still won't have me singing Solstice Bells by Jethro Tull this year around the Maypole Tree.

Update II: Wunderkinder links to Charles Krauthammer's dismemberment of the common agnostic case for expelling spirituality from the public square. It's both interesting and depressing that the best defense of modern Christmas celebrations I've read this year comes from a dedicated, practicing Jew.


As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around... per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.
Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.

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