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Friday, December 22, 2006

Think How The Pagans Must Feel At Christmas

Tis the season for Christian clergy to issue jeremiads about the paganization of Christmas and reminding anyone who will listen that “Jesus is the reason for the season.”

In fact, a good case can be made for saying the opposite is true.

The winter solstice was a major celebration long before Christianity reached Europe. So, in a sense, it was the Christians who co-opted the holiday season.

But I say more power to the pagans. Christmas trees whose midwinter greenery proclaims the triumph of life, wreathes that symbolize the sun, eggnog, caroling, lights, family visits, feasting, gift-giving and gift-getting — that all belongs to Yule, the older festival. We would all be poorer without them, because even in our electrified world, winter gloom needs brightening.

Yule is the pagans’ festival, and I wish them luck in trying to hang on to it. However, I worry that they might not succeed. They are taking a beating, but not from Christianity. Yule and Christmas coexisted for more than a millennium and a half without much tension. The assault on Yule comes from commercialization, and the odds of withstanding that assault seem slim. Full Story

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