Is Christmas about Christ, or is it about reindeer?
Christmas is when Christians celebrate of the virgin birth of Jesus the Christ, Y’shua the Messiah, in a manger in Bethlehem. It’s a tale of wise men (who weren’t there) and shepherds (who were).
But the celebration on December 25 is a matter of convenience:
December 25 was the birthday of Mithra, the pagan God of light. In 325 AD, Roman emperor Constantine re-assigned the meaning to the birthday of Jesus, the true God of light.
Christmas is also a celebration of the dead of Winter, a memory of joy shared even in the coldest days of the Little Ice Age in Europe — and perhaps some dim memory of even colder days past in a real Ice Age. The last warmth of Summer is gone by the time of the solstice, and we have time to gather together in our little hovels and share the fruits of our year’s labor with those we love.
In coopting and eventually supplanting the Roman solstice festivals, Christians and those enjoying the favors of cultural Christianity learned to follow the example of one of the most generous men in history, Nicholas of Myra.
During the Little Ice Age, the entire globe was much cooler than it is now. Colder, longer winters chilled northern Europe and the U.S. The Little Ice Age generally is said to have begun in the 15th century and to have ended in the mid 1800’s. Greenhouse gases were not responsible for cooling the planet during that time, and were obviously not responsible for the warming trend that continues to this day.
Many of our Christmas traditions, from White Christmas to sleighs and reindeer, stem from the Little Ice Age period.
Paranoia over imagined theocracy has brought a war on Christmas, which is really only a skirmish in the religious liberty front of the culture war, in which the leftists attempt to define liberty as tyranny and right as wrong. What, dear atheists and secular purists, is so harmful about an exchange of gifts? What state religion is established by this admixture of seasonal and cultural icons?
And to those Christians who find a dichotomy in the dualism, who see a conflict between magical reindeer and frankincense, I say: quit being humbugs. Sing about Rudolph, enjoy your stocking stuffers, blow your wad at Wal-Mart, and give shelter to needy travelers.
Because Christmas is Christmas, and there’s no need to pin it down more than that.