Christopher Hitchens On the Christmas Wars

I never cease to be amazed by how little the Bible-believing Protestants, who constitute most of the soldiery in the Christmas wars, know about their own tradition.

Under the rule of the Puritan Revolution in England, the celebration of Christmas was banned outright. This was for three reasons: The December fiesta was actually the honoring of paganism in disguise, and a descendant of the old rites of the winter solstice. Then, it was also a manifestation of popery and superstition (the "Christ-Mass"). Finally, it was an excuse for the riff-raff to get drunk and disorderly. Only the last part seems to have survived.

None of the four gospels gives any notion of what time of year the supposed Nativity occurred. Only two gospels mention the virginity of Mary, and only one has any mention of a "manger." Wise men and shepherds are likewise very unevenly distributed throughout the discrepant accounts. So that the placement of a crèche surrounded by a motley crew of humans and animals has no more scriptural warrant than does "The Life of Brian." Moreover, the erection of this exhibit near the turn of the year is actually a placation of the old Norse gods of the winter solstice.

Link.

1 comments:

John D said...

He also has an excellent new article on Christianity in the military. Check it out (essential reading I would say):

http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2009/12/hitchens-theocracy-200912?printable=true