Why Christmas has become a Universal Holiday!
©2012 Fred Hallman
I just watched the finest Christmas show ever which just so happened to be on the (gasp, who’da thunk it!) Sci-Fi channel (thank you Netflix, damn you telecommunications industries ala carte versions of broadband, you greedy grinches you!)
Anyway, it was Warehouse 13, Season 2-episode 13 entitled “Secret Santa”.
The Warehouse 13 agent played by Eddie McClintock retold an old but true story from World War One about a spontaneous ceasefire that broke out on Christmas eve in the trenches of Belgium in 1914.
It seems that German soldiers began singing Christmas carols and the English soldiers in their trenches 100 yards away began harmonizing. Soon they actually lay down their arms in a spontaneous ceasefire and met in the middle to exchange gifts.
Later in the show, the character Artie played by Saul Rubinek is reunited with his long estranged father played by the fine and most definitively Jewish character actor Judd Hirsch, who gave his (now we know) Jewish son Artie his childhood piano, which happened to trigger an insight in moi the viewer, which brings me (finally) to my main point which is –
“Why Christmas is a Universal Holiday!”
To misquote Cole porter,
“?” Brit’s do it, Huns do it, even China men and Japs do it!”?”
As do Aussies, Russkies, South-Americans, North Americans, aw heck!, if we’re going to “Do the Continental!” it’s all of them!
Now originally, Christ Mass was a thoroughly Roman Catholic affair.
“Christmas” as we know it of course originated in the 1800’s as ad campaigns in the New York City department stores to bolster lagging winter sales, since no one in their right mind would venture out of their already cold apartments into the arctic blasts of New York City winters without a really, really good reason; which as we all know by now (since the invention and subsequent brain-washing by Madison Avenue of the entire electro-magnetic “UNIVERSE”) has become essential ergo, “Universal”!
I assert that the commercially driven as we know it “Christmas” being devoid of dogma and celebrating the giving of gifts ala the Magi emphasis as promulgated by the “MadMen” rather than the “Christ Mass” emphasis on the Christ child Himself as promulgated by the Roman Catholic church, allowed the “Christ Mass” custom of gift-giving on Christmas Day to seamlessly infiltrate and then integrate the American protestant masses in a commercial coup, and subsequently even those in the world who don’t believe in Jesus the Christ per se!
The angel (with the angelic hosts chiming in singing The Hallelujah Chorus ad infinitum) when announcing the coming birth of Jesus is quoted to have said…
“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace toward men of goodwill!” (King James Version)
(And in a nod to our Jewish Brethren, since I mentioned Saul Rubineks and Judd Hirsch’s fine performances,) the Orthodox Jewish bible (“Yes Virginia! There is a Santa Clause” for my humble prose purposes anyway) puts Luke 2:14 this way…
“Kavod to Hashem in the Highest; and on haaretz shalom among Bnei Adam kavvanah tovah (of good intention).”
It is the last line of Luke 2:14 (“…on earth peace toward men of goodwill!”), commercially separated from religion by the ad guys and co-opted by the commercial interest of the entire world that serendipitously reinforces goodwill through the reinforcement of the spirit of giving, which in itself manifests as goodwill in what I hope turns out to be an ever increasing feed-back loop and just (striking coincidence here) what the Prince of Peace ordered!
“What a concept!” to quote Steve Martin.
And that is why I believe that the universally self-interesting desires of peace and goodwill, manifested as a commercially driven event have resulted in the world-wide phenomenon now known as the celebration of “Christmas”.
Less “commercialization of Christmas” you might say than the bowing of the knees of Mammon to the glory of the Prince of Peace.
So Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays and bring on the dancing girls and the gaudy light shows!
Ho ho ho!