Halloween has passed, Thanksgiving is around the corner and already Christmas is in the air. This, of course, means that those zealot Christians who have access to social media will start crying about a war on Christianity. It started when Starbucks released their red holiday cup, forgoing any real identifiers that the cup is actually for the holidays aside from making it a traditional holiday color.
Now, I’m not sure how that exactly makes Starbucks a Jesus hating company, but apparently that’s what it means. We’re going to ignore that they still have Christmas themed gift cards, mugs and a Christmas Blend of coffee grounds because these zealots are ignoring that as well. Now, it takes a lot for me to take offense to anything. It’s actually nearly impossible. But if I were to be one of those people who takes offense, this would seriously be the lowest priority on my list of things of which I’m offended.
What I’d be more offended by is that Christians think they have any sort of real claim to Christmas. Celebration near the end of December has been around since well before the dawn of Christianity. Festivities surrounded the winter solstice.
“In Scandinavia, the Norse celebrated Yule from December 21, the winter solstice, through January. In recognition of the return of the sun, fathers and sons would bring home large logs, which they would set on fire. The people would feast until the log burned out, which could take as many as 12 days. The Norse believed that each spark from the fire represented a new pig or calf that would be born during the coming year” –History of Christmas via History.com
During the time of pagan rule in Rome, Saturnalia was celebrated in honor of the Roman Goddess of Agriculture; Saturn. To properly integrate and absorb the pagan holidays into the newly formed Christian religion, Pope Juluis I appointed December 25th as Jesus’ day of birth, despite not having any factual evidence that that is truly when he was born. But even then, Christmas celebrations were not what they are today. It was celebrated more like Mardi Gras than the Christmas we know.
In 1645, when Oliver Cromwell took over England with his Puritan forces, they actually outlawed any sort of Christmas celebration. When the Pilgrims came to America, who were also of this staunch Puritan faith, they too kept to the tradition of outlawing Christmas. It wasn’t until the American Revolution that Christmas was even declared a national holiday (June 1870 to be exact).
Now you may have guessed at this point, but I don’t identify my religious beliefs with Christianity. While I don’t have a declared religion, I most closely identify with paganism. No, not the poly-theistic type of paganism. The Greek Gods and Goddesses of old were created to explain natural phenomena that we now have the answers for because science is a really cool thing. I more closely relate to the belief in the power of self and energies. You get what you put out… that sort of thing.
So, if I were to take offense to anything this holiday season, it would be Christians parading around like they started this holiday. But guess what? I’m more excited to see people passionate about their beliefs. I’m more excited to see people celebrating. Taking offense to something is a choice, so why would you choose negativity during what’s supposed to be a happy time of year?