Monday, December 04, 2006

the dark side of christmas

I'm boycotting Christmas. It's something I want to do every year, and this year I can get away with it, because my lovely family is not here. Why don't Christians ever acknowledge the dark side of Christmas? (the flippant sarcastic benjamin wants to say "for the same reasons they don't acknowledge the dark side of anything--happy happy joy joy--jesus took my burdens and he rolled them in the sea, never to remember anymore etc. etc.") But what about this passage from Revelation 12(which is included in the Christian holy book!)

A great Sign appeared in Heaven: a Woman dressed all in sunlight, standing on the moon, and crowned with Twelve Stars. She was giving birth to a Child and cried out in the pain of childbirth. And then another Sign alongside the first: a huge and fiery Dragon! It had seven heads and ten horns, a crown on each of the seven heads. With one flick of its tail it knocked a third of the Stars from the sky and dumped them on earth. The Dragon crouched before the Woman in childbirth, poised to eat up the Child when it came. The Woman gave birth to a Son who will shepherd all nations with an iron rod. Her Son was seized and placed safely before God on his Throne. The Woman herself escaped to the desert to a place of safety prepared by God, all comforts provided her for 1,260 days. War broke out in Heaven. Michael and his Angels fought the Dragon. The Dragon and his Angels fought back, but were no match for Michael.

Just try not to picture a 10 horned seven headed dragon in the delivery room, hanging out to feast on ... well, you get the picture.

And this one from Matthew 2

Herod, when he realized that the scholars had tricked him, flew into a rage. He commanded the murder of every little boy two years old and under who lived in Bethlehem and its surrounding hills. (He determined that age from information he'd gotten from the scholars.) That's when Jeremiah's sermon was fulfilled:

A sound was heard in Ramah,
weeping and much lament.
Rachel weeping for her children,
Rachel refusing all solace,
Her children gone,
dead and buried.

I think we let this go because we've heard it too often. Try to picture ... George Bush personally ordering the slaughter of hundreds of 2 year old children because he wants to make sure he maintains his power and wealth. oh, wait a minute ...

What about the fact that while we happily spend enough money to finally put all the retailers in the black for the year, mostly on total crap which we don't need, 750,000 people worldwide will die of starvation in the month of December?

I dare you to choose not to buy any christmas presents this year, and figure out how much you *would* have spent on christmas presents, and then give just half that figure to the social justice agency of your choice. and if you can't think of any, see some of the ones listed under "areas of moral clarity" to the right.


Anonymous said...

Bah humbug!

I love Christmas, and have absolutely no intention of giving it up even for one year (what would I tell my kids? LOL). I love it when my kids make me presents, I love putting up the tree as a family, and I love all the food, no matter how unseasonal here in Oz.

However, I think we can all choose how far we get caught up in its materialism, but we make those choices every day anyway.

Anonymous said...

Good idea in theory but I agree with Kate. The sentiment behind presents is good and loving and thoughtful.
How about giving a second option, where you have to make all your presents, or can only buy them from fair trade shops like oxfam
Helen (friend of Justin and Rhea, you don't know me!) (but I like your blog)

LP said...

oh shit.

we've already spent $5 i think... not that we have much more than that to spend.

i like the idea. ever since we accidently went to target at the beginning of the shopping season, chris and i have been angrily bitching (let's be honest here) about the crass materialism that keeps our economy running, and in the name of jesus too.

i'm making a t-shirt, would you like one? it will say:

is the
for the

anyway...we should perhaps hang out while the girls are away? dinner maybe. chris and i are keeping a low profile this month...just say no, that's what i say. (to any christmas crap we don't want to do)

Jonathan Cullum said...

I don't care for the Christmas season, and try to arrange to be at sea. Your suggestion would carry more weight if you were willing to do it whilst sweetie and kiddiepoos were around.

Otherwise you're just satiating your misanthropic tendencies. For you, Benjamin, it would be a sacrifice to give into the Christmas spirit and trim the tree, even though you're all alone. I remember who insisted on standing watch during the Christmas dinner on the ship.

Jonathan Cullum said...

BTW, it looks as if you're sporting a goatee on the pics over at Megan's Blog, yes? Makes you look dangerous.

You should make a lowball offer on Priceline for a flight to NYC, and if they agree, come out to the UWS for a day or two to visit Spike. I'm still around for at least another 2 weeks.

Anonymous said...

I was included in the circulation of this joke today and thought of your comments about Christmas:

Christmas Story for people having a bad day....

When four of Santa's elves got sick, the trainee elves did not
produce toys as fast as the regular ones, and Santa began to feel
the pre-Christmas pressure. Then Mrs. Claus told Santa her Mother
was coming to visit, which stressed Santa even more.

When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them
were about to give birth and two others had jumped the fence and
were out, Heaven knows where. Then when he began to load the
sleigh, one of the floorboards cracked, the toy bag fell to the
ground and all the toys were scattered. So, frustrated, Santa went
in the house for a cup of apple cider and a shot of rum.

When he went to the cupboard, he discovered the elves had drank all
the cider and hidden the liquor. In his frustration, he
accidentally dropped the cider jug, and it broke into hundreds of
little glass pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom
and found the mice had eaten all the straw off the end of the broom.

Just then the doorbell rang, and irritated Santa marched to the
door, yanked it open, and there stood a little angel with a great
big Christmas tree. The angel said very cheerfully, "Merry
Christmas Santa.
Isn't this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where
would you like me to stick it?"

And so began the tradition of the little angel on top of the
Christmas tree.


anita said...

o dear, i sent your present yesterday! i promise to give what it's worth in cash to a charity... it wasn't a pricey one though, sorry

Benjamin Ady said...

JG--thankyou. Didn't see it coming until the "where do you want me to stick it".


I think you have a kewl spelling of your name. Thankyou for the invite. I am still waiting to see if money drops into my lap to go to Sydney over Christmas, and I'm in school through the 9th, and then I have work committments until the 18th. But who knows? how long before you go to sea?
You're right--it's a copout for me to do the boycott thing when they are away. Oh well--you called me on it. what can I say?

LP--I'll call sometime.

stephanie said...

I think in doing this you're celebrating Christmas quite purely.

Megs said...

Sweetie here!!!!
i love christmas (as you know!)... I think creating tradition, ceremony and symbol are such important sustainers of people and the groups they abide in!!

Trinity Univerisity in Dublin would be an excellent choice for our post grad work (now that i have an Irish passport!) Seren says. I'm just back from yoga with her, which was great.

I love you!!!!
I love the blog comments your entries stimulate. This one especially!

Love Megs
PS If you can't come to us, that would be lovely to go over and have xmas with jonathan and spike in the upper west side of that lovely city!!!

anita said...

would you have christmas with your fam in seattle?

Benjamin Ady said...

anita--do you mean my FOO that *is* here in Seattle? Or are you asking if hypothetically, if my actual family--megan and the girls--were here in seattle, would I still be boycotting christmas?

I'll answer both. I'm still trying to come up with a legitimate excuse to avoid doing christmas with my FOO.
If Megan and the girls were here, I'm pretty sure Megan wouldn't let me boycott christmas, and that would be okay, 'cause I'd be quite glad to have them here.