Now that Saturnalia is behind us …
“The ancient Roman seven-day festival of Saturn, which began on December 17.”
I’m comfortable writing a few words about Christmas.
The parties that many attend this year and every year … these are for Saturnalia. It’s an orgy of drinking and overindulgences in food, for some; and for other an excuse, at office parties, to speak one’s mind under the influence or with tongue’s lubrication by alcohol.
Each year a growing number of mislead people come to believe that Christmas was created to convert pagan masses during the Roman era, after Christianity became the singular sanctioned religion of the Roman Empire. For these believers, Christmas is Saturnalia with a mythological Christ at its center. Thus, they often assert, the Church found a way to continue pagan traditions under a sanctioned roof, so to say.
Truly, Christmas is not Christmas without contemplation of the deeper mysteries of birth, death and regeneration.
Saturnalia was, in its time, a religious celebration designed to influence the Roman god Saturn, and came at the time of year when days were becoming shorter, and nights longer. One of two things would happen. Either daylight would diminish altogether some months in the future, or days would once again grow longer, and the warmth of the sun return. By honoring Saturn, Romans and others believed that their god was pleased and bestowed longer periods of sunlight upon the Earth, by which crops would once again flourish, and grapes for wine would likely grow aplenty. Drink up and be merry.
No matter how poorly we eat, humans will never be plants.
This is to say, the regeneration that Romans and others hoped for during Saturnalia was a regeneration of sunlight, the length of the day, and plants that sustained animal life, including of course their grapes. Timing of the festival worked in favor of those Romans. After the winter solstice around December 21 each year, their prayers were answered. Those who celebrate Saturnalia in this century also know this, and reasonably predict that daylight hours will lengthen, etc.
Just as many people these days don’t want to know what really happens in the world, or that the money they worship and cherish is bogus, or that the votes they cast are meaningless, or that the money they send to nonprofits to feed starving children is not spent to effectively end hunger … people don’t want to contemplate the essential meaning of Christmas. That is, the contemplation of the deeper mysteries of birth, death and regeneration are largely taboo in this modern era.
There is a debate, if not a vehement argument ongoing about a war against Christmas.
Here is one view: War on Christmas?
And here is another: http: Fox Says War on Christmas has been won.
It appears obvious that this distinction is a moot point. The Christmas that is argued about is more of a non-Christmas celebration than it is a contemplation of the deeper mysteries of birth, death and regeneration. Why argue about Saturnalia?
The Government policy is reflected her: Don't Say Christmas Soldier.
Santa Claus, most seasonal songs and a Yule tree are exceedingly banal and superficial. Enemies of true Christianity would have it no other way. And to argue over banalities pleases this group quite merrily, under both connotations.
If Christmas were in essence a celebration of inanimate lumps of clay, salt water and minerals coming to life as a newborn human being, that would be remarkable. Such a life would be miraculous, and deemed precious. Who or what breathed life into that mixture would become the question of the year. How it was done would be the scientific mystery of the century. Just as the code-writer for the human DNA molecule is an imponderable mystery, so is the mystery of human life in all its complexity. How and where did a human DNA molecule originate?
We are those lumps of clay, salt water and minerals with an unfathomable essence of life "breathed" into us. "The Bru~ah, the Wind, did it." Hence, we should listen to that Wind because it has done so much more.
To me, the whole of Christmas essence is summarized in the title of a song, Silent Night.
Real Christ Mass is, after all, one Holy Night