Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christians

Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. Jolly Hanukkah. Decent Solstice. Enjoyable Winter. Desirable Gift-giving.
When did it get that difficult?
Easy – it didn’t.  Winter is shite. It’s rubbish, it’s horrible, it’s unproductive and it is, frankly, depressing. It’s cold, the choice of food is limited and travel-options can often be stifled at the last minute, leaving us stranded in the shithole we call home whether we’re wealthy enough to pay for travel or just desperate enough to hoof it to greener-pastures for a wee while, should the opportunity arise.
Winter is, well, winter. The tough bit of the year; the bit we’d rather do without, given the choice. It’s a struggle, even these days. We even invented a syndrome to make us middle-class people feel better about feeling awful at this time of year. We get disordered, seasonally.
And so, being, collectively if not individually, marginally intelligent, we decided, a very long time ago, it might be a decent idea to have a bit of a party in the middle of this shite, to stop us gouging our brains out. This was a great invention. One of our best, I reckon. Up there with recorded music and cheese in terms of quality additions to the general wellbeing of the human race.
Way before anything in the bible happened, humans sussed that somewhere slap bang in the middle of this winter horribleness,  the Sun changed its mind, stopped being a wuss and started getting shinier for longer every day. Turns out that’s anywhere from the 21st to the 23rd of December, by modern reckoning.  That’s what’s called a Solstice.
I could never have worked that out. I don’t know anyone who could, frankly. I know I’m not clever enough to figure out the movements of the sun from first principles. I don’t doubt humans exist who could, I just know I’m not one of them, and neither are you (statistically speaking). But they did, way back when. When they hadn’t figured out what that burny thing that sometimes happened to wood and made the dead rabbit taste better, they’d figured out the seasons. And they knew winter was shit. So they had a party in the middle, to retain the option of not going nutfucked wiith the misery of it all. That very fact gives me so much hope.
But, many thousands of years later, where do we find ourselves?
‘Christmas is being hijacked!’ ‘Political Correctness is Killing Christmas!’ ‘What Happened to OUR Holiday’. Etc.
Jesus. And yes, I do mean ‘Jesus’.
Nice man, I have no doubt. If he said and did half the things attributed to him he deserves all the praise in the world. ‘Love thy neighbour as you love thyself’ – Best. Life-lesson. Ever.
But he, himself, personally, as far as I can tell, didn’t tell anyone when his birthday was. Neither did his mum. Or step dad. Or actual dad, depending what you believe. The phrase ‘25th of December’ does not, to my knowledge, occur in the Bible. So shut the fuck up. You don’t own it.
We all need a break in the middle of winter. Life is pretty difficult for everyone. I admire and, sometimes, envy the ability some people have to attribute both suffering and joy to a higher being. Good luck with that. I’m not asking you to stop believing.
What I am asking you to do, though, is to give the rest of us a fucking break. We get tired, too. We need a day off, too.
Some of us just need an excuse to have a party in the middle of a shite winter. We’re not taking anything away from you or your beliefs. We’re just gearing up for another year, without divine assistance.
That we manage to be moral, and just, and compassionate and graceful without the fear of Hellish punishment should we not be, makes us what? Less than you? Damned?
Explain that.
Festive Festivities!

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