Friday, 23 December 2011

Season's Gratings

If, as Emerson said, "language is the archives of history," then "Merry Christmas" in itself is a whole chronicle of contentious claims. No wonder it rubs so many otherwise affable people the wrong way. Originally it referred to a mass, i.e., a celebration of the Last Supper, the feast of the consubstantiation of the Lord's flesh and blood into bread and wine. For non-Christians, that in itself is a hard swallow. And the "oiled" root embedded in the Greek term Christ doesn't help it go down any easier. Was Jesus really the oiled or "anointed" one? Not according to the Jews, who rejected his divinity outright and got him nailed him to a Roman cross just to drive home the point. So every time we wish someone who's Jewish a "merry Christmas" we might as well be saying something like, "let's commemorate the birth of that mad and blasphemous rabbi, aka the Son of God, who broke bread and predicted his death at the hands of your forbears, forbears who, btw, missed the bus on His messiahship, as even you yourselves are presently missing it by persisting in standing stiff-necked beyond the grace of salvation, bound instead for eternal perdition." Quite a mouthful! Who can blame them if they want to spit some of it back in our face? Then again who knows what Talmudic terror might be lurking under every seemingly innocent "happy Hanukkah?"
I think maybe I'll stick with Sunny Solstice from now on. The whole world, after all, confesses that Sun.

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