Sunday, December 25, 2011

Can We Imagine a Christianity Without Christmas?

I am not sure that anyone should want to get rid of Christmas.  After all it is a very beautiful holiday - perhaps the most beautiful holiday in the history of humanity. Who knows for certain.  Whenever I spend time at Christian ceremonies I see so much Plato at its core.  It is difficult to hate anything that starts with the greatest of Greek philosophers.  There are of course constant references to scripture and the obvious indebtedness to ancient mystery religions.  Yet as beautiful as Christmas is, it is difficult to avoid questioning how it is that Jesus could have been born exactly nine months before the day he rose from the dead (March 25th).

I am not going to make reference to the influence of the cult of Sol Invictus and Aurelian.   I am not sure whether December 25th was a pagan or Christian holiday originally.  All I am sure about is that the birth of Jesus only became celebrated later in Christian antiquity.  The Marcionites clearly understood Jesus to have descended as God from the heavens to Jerusalem.  There is something inherently Jewish about this concept (especially when compared with the contemporary interest in a visit from God among the Qumran texts).  I happen to think it was the original understanding in Christianity.

Merry Xmas.

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