In response to coverage of recent Black Friday Footage in UK supermarkets, the former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, raised the simple if painfully bleak question of
Has Christmas finally died
Not exactly a heartwarming question I admit at his time of the year, and it’s certainly one at odds with the merry ring of the cash register as yet another obscenely large smart HD T.V, or whatever fights its way out of the shop door. Yet as loathsome as the footage is, and as unpleasant the behavior of the participants, it certainly does raise some rather uncomfortable and awkward questions which some of us I’m sure would rather ignore.
- What is Christmas all about anyway?
- Which version is authentic?
- How much have we evolved or changed since our days as a primordial man?
Simple enough questions on the face of it, but, rather like turning back the cover of a well known if rarely read book, lets see what lies inside.
What’s Christmas about anyway?
Despite it’s multilayered origins, see the next section for more details, it would seem , at a quick glance, that an answer to this question is blindingly obvious
Maybe not very obvious to the hacked off, and potentially vengeful cat opposite, but whatever reason is chosen for celebration, it is fair to say that it is a time for celebration, and a time where we give thanks for who and what we have around us.
It’s rather pleasant really, especially if you are a Christian, as, if things go as planned everybody has a bit of fun. Eat to excess, drink to excess, exchange gifts and seasonal felicitations, and, if you believe in the Christian teachings, welcome in the Christ child as if you were heralding a new dawn. Sounds great but how has our view of the season, and our reaction to all such junketing, changed over the years?
It is a curious thing to contemplate but, as in so many other examples, it seems that the more advanced we become as humans, the more we fail to have a genuinely good time. We all go round saying “Merry Christmas” to any one within earshot, and once stuffed full of wholly unhealthy Christmas goodies, we all try and convince ourselves that we are having a wonderful time, but is this so, and what of those who cannot share our alleged good fortune?
The poor, the sick, and the homeless, for example; or the multitude of lonely souls. Some individuals are happy in the situation they find themselves in, as can be seen in a previous post of mine called Happines-what does that mean to you , but for most Christmas is a painful and potentially unbearable reminder of just how poor their life has become.
Then of course there is the question of presents for your “loved ones”, some of which, or possibly many of which you never actually want to think of or see. The stress of getting that oh so perfect present, the Christmas crowds, even outside of Black Friday, and having to put on that oh so awful grin, as yet again, you wonder what on earth was going on in your beloved’s mind.
Yet it can be a lovely time, and it can lead to a strengthening of vows and friendships, so however you decide to enjoy Christmas, I hope you have a thoroughly wonderful time.
Which version is authentic?
There you go, the one and only, the utterly majestic and quintessential must have lump of venomously boring nothingness
All you need now is a bucketful of malodorous overcooked sprouts, an allotment of vegetables, and a pre-gaseous crowd of loving relatives and you are away.
Merry Christmas, or is it Xmas, everybody. Fill up your glasses and have a wonderful time.
Sadly for many this does represent an authentic christmas, but if you mange to temporalily drag yourself away from the table, you might, just for one moment, think about the authenticity of your celebrations, and the reason for so much cheer.
Don’t worry, all you Christians, I’m not going to shred the Christmas story, as you are entitled to your beliefs as is everybody else around you, and as there no proof of anything, as regards faith and so much of life around us, I’m not going to say that you are wrong. What has to be admitted though, even by the most fervent of believers, is that the Christian festival has been plonked on top of at least two other festivals before.
For those who wish to dig deeper into such a subject click here, but in essence the winter solstice has been celebrated by pagans well before the arrival of Christianity. Then the Roman Emperor chipped in with Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, or, to us non latin speakers”the birthday of the Unconquered Sun” . finally, under the reign of Roman Emperor Constantine, Christmas began.
Who has the right to sit upon the rightful throne of Christmas, or whatever, is questionable, as our knowledge of prehistory is far from perfect, but even if the festival is no more than a celebration of better and longer days to come, then is that not a good enough reason to be of good cheer?
How much have we changed?
My views on the evolution of Man, or regression of Man are scattered liberally though out this blog, and I make no apologies for holding such views are as they are very deeply held, but for those who wish to dig a deeper I suggest you might like to investigate one of my longer works called The Paradox of Man
What I will say here is that I don’t think we have gone backwards as regards recent events. Going backwards implies that a true regression has occurred where as in this instance we seem to be more exhibiting a side of ourselves that was always there. Thereby, it might be case that we haven’t changed at all.
That’s right folks, I’m openly stating the case that if put under pressure, we are no more advanced or civilized than our ancient ancestors, and that such an underlying trait lies within us all. I know that sounds a but rough, but then is this something that we should feel ashamed about, or is it simply the case that we are obeying on of natures most powerful laws?
The law I refer to is the law of survival, through which any animal will do anything it can do to survive in order to pass on and protect its genes. Personally I loathe mankind’s greed, and find its unquenchable desire for “things” repugnant, but, in it’s defence, are such events as Black friday any different to a feeding frenzy in the wild?. Sure, we don’t actually need so many of the things we purchase, as animals need such food frenzies in the wild, but is it not the same basic instinct that drives us all?
Thereby in summary I would say that we have not changed, and going back to the original question, that Christmas hasn’t really died, despite evidence to the contrary. It’s just that we, and it, have changed over the centuries, and both are clad in coats of many different colours, but fundamentally both remain the same.
Have I got proof to back up my assertions, well just one piece of evidence, but that, I think, will do
We all ask children what they want for Christmas, and wallet in hand, dread the response that might come. What if that child simply said
“You, just you”
I asked the question, and such came a reply. I was in catering at the time, so making time for her at Christmas was a nightmare, but that comment stopped me in my tracks, and I remember her uplifted if serious little face to this day
That was 25 odd years ago, but that to me is the meaning of Christmas, regardless of where you are, or what you believe in, so have a good time folks, and keep a friendly eye on all those who stand by your side.
Enjoy the animation below, even if you have seem it before