Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas = Family

During this holiday weekend, I have heard a lot of people talking about the meaning of Christmas. Some say it was originally a Pagan holiday that celebrates light at the darkest time of year. Others say that it originated as a Norse practice involving St. Nicholas and gift giving. Others focus on the birth of Jesus Christ as central to the holiday.

From my perspective, Christmas is all of these things. But how can this be? Here's why: No matter what your particular tradition, Christmas always equals family. Each year, people all over the world gather with family and loved ones at this time of year.

And it goes beyond that: We actually enter into a realm of spiritual selflessness at this time of year. We think about the needs of others and we open our wallets to charitable causes.

I think Joe Campbell would say that we become selfless at this time of year (in the northern hemisphere, anyway) because we have reached the nadir of our annual journey. It is at this time, a time where the sun has all but dropped below the horizon, we realize our precarious place int he universe. That's when we realize that We Are One and we turn to each other and simply say, "I love you."

Christmas is, indeed, a celebration of human love, particularly for family. Pagans understand this, the Norse peoples understand this, and Christians understand this. Everyone who celebrates Christmas or Yule or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa understands that this is the time of year for family.

In fact, my personal holy trinity is father+mother+child.

So, before we get carried away with Jesus's death and resurection (which inevitably enters into the Christmas rhetoric), let's appreciate Mary's triumph. She gave birth to a son, and that, in itself, is enough for rejoicing because it represents all "Mary's" and all "babies."

Second, let's give a shout out to Joseph, who stood by his family to complete the trinity.

My coffee is getting cold and my family is in the other room, so I need to end this entry. But the next time someone asks you about the real meaning of Christmas, you can tell them FAMILY.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Blessed Yule, Happy Kwanzaa



Ralph said...

Right on. Dr. Dee, could you elaborate, when you say, have reached the "nadir" of our journey?



DocTorDee said...

Think of it this way: In mid-summer, we are filled with the light and energy of the sun. The Earth assures us that life will go on...the corn stals are growing taller while apples ripen in the orchard.

Then Autumn hits and plants go dormant. The sun, which has been sinking steadily throughout the summer, hits a low point at Winter Solstice. This is the nadir--the cosmic lowpoint--of our annual journey around the sun (at least in the northern hemisphere).

This event taps into the depths of the collective unconsciousness and provokes our comprehension of our shared situation: without that sun, we've be screwed.

That's why all the celebrations at this time of year are based on light and sun worship (Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights, Jesus is the Light of the World, Pagans celebrate Yule, where the Yule log evokes heat and light...they're really all the same).

In addition, before supermarkets, people died during the winter (from starvation, exposure, flu). So, when the sun reaches its lowest point, we have ancestral doubts about survivng our predicament on Earth. This fear is certainly less common now, as we have become so good at living; however, this was a very real fear for the thousands of years that people have roamed the Earth.

But we also know that--if the sun stays on its course--it will begin to ascend into the heavens once again. That the flowers will bloom in spring and the vineyards will once again grow thick with grapes.

And, in Christmas tradition, we have a sun birth...the birth of the Son of God. It's all based on sun worship. The son of god come to Earth and become flesh.

Christianity is definitely a sun cult. They are almot exclusively focused on the Sun God. They represent male/yang energy. Action, domination, conversion are all hallmarks of Sun Cults. Islam is a Sun Cult: women are sujected and yang energy dominates.

Moon cults are different. Moon cults represent female/yin energy. They include nature religions, pagans, and those who worship mother nature--rather than the son of god. Moon cults have long been demonized and oppressed by the sun cults, but that's starting to change as the energy of the divine feminine continues to increase.

Joe Campbell said that there is only one mythology that can emerge in teh 21st century and that is a mythology of Planet Earth, and Earth Religions are typically feminine.

That's why I think Christmas needs to be--at least in part--rescued from complete dominance of the Sun Cult. I don't like the current practice of rushing Jesus off to his death so that they can dominate others by saying, "Christmas is important because Christ died for your sins [and now you are indebted to him]."

A Moon approach would be to value the role of Mary, Joseph, and the entire family at Christmas because that trinity is replicated all over the globe at this time of year.



Ralph said...

Interesting batch of comments...I guess, to my question, the nadir, as I thought, represents the low point of the year, but a Festival of Lights really is about celebrating the high point, which will return. In essance, Christmas is about "whistling through the graveyard" of the hardest time of the year. I guess this analogy is especially dear to me as I found myself at the funeral home twice in the weeks leading up to Christmas after pretty much avoiding the place the rest of the year. I think the lack of sun does can affect people's health negatively... I regards to the moon and birth worship, that's a good point how it's kind of melded in there, but rushed out of the way by Easter. Too much yang, too little ying, but I'm not sure I'm seeing your point about the resurgence of pagan religions. Maybe I'm just too far away from it, but it seems to me at least that Christianity and Muslem still easity dominate the Western Hemisphere. If indeed, you consider the Chinese and Indians to be moon worshipers, and I'm not sure I know enough about them to make the call either way, then yes, maybe there is some reversal taking place, as those seem to be the hottest areas currently for economic development. Thoughts?