The Lies That History Tells: Merry Pagan Holiday
I want to find the truth. I want to discover a history that doesn’t lie to me. I want to explore the past in a light of pure actuality. I want to walk on the trail of tears with Native Americans. I yearn to be the child of a jobless single mother in the great depression. I want to lose my house to hurricane Katrina. I want to feel the truth of oppression, so I can know what I have to be grateful for.
Over the past month I have been writing about the lies that I was told in grade school. As I conclude this series I want to encourage everyone never to look at anything from face value. Always question, always find several credible sources, always challenge young people to find their truth.
My parents spared me. They saved me from the mid-adolescent crisis of figuring out what the truth is about one of the most influential times in any child’s life. Since my first memory of Christmas my parents explained to me that there was no Santa Claus. This is not a push to destroy a harmless tale that we express to little kids in fun. In my personal opinion, I think its up to the parents to decide what they do or don’t want their children to believe (at least when it comes to mythical ideas that encourage kids to be nice all year.) But as I grew up and realized that some kids in my 4th and 5th grade classes still believed in Santa, I began to appreciate my parent’s truth.
What I don’t appreciate is the contradictions of some of the customs that we have come to believe in both the church and in family tradition. When I was younger, I was told to believe that Christmas was the birthday of Jesus Christ. But when reading more into this subject, I find that most theologians believe the birthday of Jesus was early fall. And I still don’t quite understand why Christians choose to build a tree and decorate it each year. On December 25th (which is actually the original birthday of Mithra, a pagan diety) the ancient greeks would chop down trees and decorate them in the name of their god, Adonia.
Regardless of the lies, half-truths, or justifications that Christians or any other group decides to believe about Christmas. I think we all agree one thing; there is something special in our country during this time of year. I’m not sure if it’s the message of hope, or the shows on TV that encourage us to give (solely for the reason of getting something in return), but I digress.
I like the holiday season, if only because it is a reason for people to be kind and generous to each other. Of course, I want people to know the truth about what they believe and the origins of what they are celebrating, but in this case the lies that history tells has brought a lot of joy. Merry Pagan Holiday everyone, and Happy New years.