Tuesday, December 13, 2011

In Search Of A Shameless Christmas

In general I find Christmas stuff irritating. I am able to deal with the black friday, buying spree aspect of it by placing it in the same sort of class as prostitution: an abusive cycle that in a diabolical synergy falsely promises to fill a void while making us more dependent on that void and blinding us to the void's very nature and existence. That is an easy one, addiction, brokenness and idolatry is so commonplace that it takes an effort to get worked up about it.

I don't care that the tree comes out of Roman paganism. I don't care that the date has far more to do with pagan fertility rituals that with the likely historical birth of Jesus of Nazareth. I am not an advocate of nor am I a critic of Christian observance of Chanukah (the celebration of a miracle of lamp oil lasting days longer than it should have in a temple that never saw the presence of God and housed a hypocritical and vilely corrupt group of covenant breaking religious leaders.) What gets me about these traditions is that they effectively distract from what is the point. But they are nowhere near the core so they are somewhat innocuous. These are traditions that mean whatever they mean to the observer.

The most insidious and blatant assault is the baby Jesus stuff. Coming so close to the core portraying the infant in Kinkadian sap. All tame and nice. Like an inoculation that tricks your mind into thinking it has the point while actually shifting your view just enough askew to miss it. The cards and cutouts and ornaments and plays and creches portraying a nice happy bright little tame baby. It makes me a wee bit sick.

Baby Jesus, yes. The cute babyness, no. What is going on in the Baby Jesus is the sort of thing that makes your bowels turn to liquid, that makes your breath stick in your throat, that deafens your mind with its immensity. In the Baby Jesus, the creator of the universe crammed himself, covered in shit and blood, through the cervix of a palestinian teenager. In the Baby Jesus, God absorbed humanness into himself. By taking up existence as a real, tiny, human person God took humanness itself into himself with the result that all who share in that humanness got taken up as well. In that little baby, the fire that formed galaxies, we lose the ability to be separated from God.

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