|A Mexican Devil ornament on my tree|
A couple of years ago, I raised my glass to the Devil. Seeing the initial reaction of my guests (especially my Christian guests), I went on to say that without something that bedevils us, an implacable enemy who actively seeks our ruin, what need would we have--indeed what appreciation could we be expected to have--for a savior? The entire holiday, you might say, is essentially enabled and facilitated by the mythical bad guy, and we have him to thank for the celebration of Christmas. I like stretching the envelope a little.
It sounds weird, I know, unless you consider that it would be even less appropriate to link Jesus with the commercialism, the vast sum of money that changes hands, the overeating and drunkenness, the artificial friendliness, the stress, alienation and depression that year after year accompany the whole garish pagan display. Jolly good fun and all, but...Jesus? In all that?
The birth of Christ may have coincided with the winter solstice, and people may celebrate his birth around this time, but the holidays as we know them are pretty much the work of the Devil. Not that I'm complaining, you understand...