Merry Christmas, Assholes!

Our guest columnist wishes you would stop goading Fox News into demagoguing a stolen pagan holiday, and surely extends the same detailed heartfelt consideration to Ramadan.

My family and I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! I offer this to all because Christmas is a holiday for all, whether you are a Christian believer or not. The message of Christmas is full of hope, peace, joy, and the fellowship of all mankind; so I find it amazing that every year we hear more accounts of a ramped up “war on Christmas.”

How sad and ironic that a handful of grinches are at war with the annual celebration of the birth of the Prince of Peace, whose coming was prophesied centuries earlier and was then gloriously heralded by the angels with a blessing for “peace on earth” and “good will toward men.” Even if one doesn’t believe the story, can’t one at least recognize the beauty of the message? Or at the very least, let everyone else enjoy the season without throwing a temper tantrum at the sight of a Nativity scene? People who feel affronted by a baby in a humble Manger display or a few Christmas carols have truly lost all sense of proportion and seem to be most in need of some holiday cheer.

At a time when our country is divided on so many things, Christmas unites us. It’s a beautiful part of our culture, and for many of us it’s a beautiful part of our Faith. In fact, for believers it’s “the main thing.” In today’s tumultuous times we can remember the bible’s record of Three Wise Men from the East who received an angelic message of Jesus’ birth. They may have been unsure of the message, so they sought truth. They trekked to Bethlehem to find out more. There, they found Jesus and they honored Him. The story of the wise men reminds us that today wise men still seek Him. So in this season especially, let’s seek truth.

Let’s celebrate with family and friends. Let’s shout a cheery “Merry Christmas” to everyone we meet. Let’s remember our brave men and women in uniform defending us far from home. And let’s all pray for a peaceful New Year.

From our home to yours, Merry Christmas.

-Sarah Palin

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14)

Merry Christmas! [Sarah Palin/Facebook]

I’m just a lowly pagan over here, but isn’t Easter actually a more significant holy day? Take it away Catt and Flippin’. And, by the way, it’s my understanding that there should actually be no babies in Nativity scenes until Christmas actually rolls around.

My holiday plans: skiing tomorrow, Hanukkah party tomorrow night, torchlight and bonfire procession on Christmas Eve back at the Ancestral Homeland, midnight Mass at seriously old Hispanic Catholic church painted by Georgia O’Keefe, watch the Deer Dance back at Ancestral Homeland on Christmas Day, then back to Casa RML for presents and a bowl of chili and ham by the fire.

Tell ya what, Caribou Barbie: you and yours quit fainting every time you see two people of the same sex holding hands, we’ll all try real hard to ignore the holiday garbage…

@redmanlaw: Easter is the Christian holy day, yes, even if that also has pagan underpinnings.

What’s fun about Christmas is that this whole Traditional business is only about 150 years old.

Don’t forget that Joe the Carpenter and Mary went to Bethlehem to take part in a census that was done for tax purposes.


It kinda depends on what you mean by “important”.

Theologically, there really are three key events – in my view of Christianity, not speaking on behalf of any religion here. The big three would be the Immaculate Conception, Christmas and Easter. Each connects with the other on a number of levels and each is underpinned by Old Testament prophecy.

As a matter of practice, what is most important changes over time and differs from church to church and from person to person. In my experience of Christianity, I would agree with you that Easter is the most central event, particularly when viewed in conjunction with the sacrifice of Good Friday.

However neither of the other two are trivial – particularly the implicit promise of the Immaculate Conception that original sin is not inevitably the fate of humanity. Christmas, in addition to Christ’s birth, has an extremely important message about the potentially universality of God’s love.

@Jesuswalksinidaho: and they occupied a barn because they weren’t allowed in the hotel, not even through the back door.

@redmanlaw: Werd.

Once again RML shows us how to live the blessed life.

@nojo: Blame the Germans. Don’t mention the war.

I like Christmas. So long as I don’t have to give people presents or send cards. I like the Silent Night deal. I like the music – apart from the dreaded pah-ra-pa-pa-pum. It was playing on the elevator Muzak in my union building today and I spoke aloud what all the other occupants were thinking: That makes me want to punch children in the face.

Plus. Who doesn’t want to don gay apparel?

@redmanlaw: Yeah, and the wise men were late on the scene with a gangster lean, oh yeah!

@Benedick: Blame the Germans.

I think Dickens is an accomplice.


Come, they told me [re-da-a-ac-ted]
A newborn king to see [re-da-a-ac-ted]
I have no gift to bring [re-da-a-ac-ted]
To lay before the king [re-da-a-ac-ted, re-da-a-ac-ted, re-da-a-ac-ted]

[They said it’s cool, come on anyway.]

Mary nodded [re-da-a-ac-ted]
The ox and lamb kept time [re-da-a-ac-ted]
[Damn that place smelled like swine]
I played my drum for him [re-da-a-ac-ted]
I played my best for him [re-da-a-ac-ted, re-da-a-ac-ted, re-da-a-ac-ted]

Then, he smiled at me [re-da-a-ac-ted]
Me and my drum.

@JNOV has a right to be hostile (it’s a book, okay?): Bitch.

@nojo: You know what? (a titter spreads around the room and the bishop says Hush!), I adore A Christmas Carol. I played Scrooge over several years and found myself lost in the story. Which is never properly told. I made my own adaptation which rewrites the ending.

In the holiday spirit of splitting hairs, the angels only announced the Nativity to the shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. The wise men, or magi, were astrologers from the east attracted by the mysterious star.

@Mistress Cynica: And they we like three months late or something. I’ve experienced that horror before…

@Benedick: Shall I play for you,

Here — this will make it alllllll better (really — no tricks and a better ear worm).

@Benedick: Dickens is the patron saint of sketch comedians.

@Benedick: There’s no shame in loving A Christmas Carol — it’s quite subversive. One of my favorite all-time movies is It’s a Wonderful Life and given how MSM runs it 24/7 I wonder if they (and 95% of Americans) have Capra’s very dark and anti-capitalist message fly over their heads.


(that’s one of the few Xmas carols I can tolerate)

ADD: On a Xmas card at the Castro card shop – I ultimately didn’t buy this one. It read:

Merry X*-mas!

*if X = Christ, does that mean XXX = ChristChristChrist?

@SanFranLefty: You know, I weep at that movie till the angel arrives and then I’m like all up shizzle in his grillz.

@Mistress Cynica: Thank you for going there, I wasn’t going to but isn’t almost all of that story not in the gospels? Plus there was no census. Then or any other year. That’s a ploy to get Jesus born in David’s city and so to fulfill the OT prophesy: otherwise known as foreshadowing. I can’t help but feel sorry for Joseph. Poor schmuck. I see him at the 7-11 buying pampers and getting his card declined. Let’s be grateful we’ve so far been spared his late-nite cable ads for herbal remedies for erectile disfunction.

@SanFranLefty: Requisite Wonderful Life background: box-office failure, only became a TV staple when its copyright lapsed.

Yes, children, copyrights used to lapse.

@Walking Still: The immaculate conception refers to the conception of Mary, not Jesus. As such, however, it still supports your arguement…Mary was born free of original sin because Jesus as the son of God had to enter a pure vessel. Therefore, through the intercession of God, one can become free of sin.

However, the immaculate conception does not have underpinnings in old testament prophesy. The virgin birth did, arguably ( though some scholars believe the word translated as “virgin” should more accurately be rendered as “maiden”, that is, a young woman who may or may not have had intercourse). The immaculate conception is an entirely Roman Catholic doctrine, and it may surprise you to know that it dates back only to the 1800’s, having been used as a test case for the doctrine of papal infallibility, an even younger doctrine which came into being later in that same century.

I am possibly the most boring human alive when I get started. Kick me next time.

@Benedick: “Fuck you, Crachett! And fuck your little gimp too! I’m cashing in and moving to Brighton! Plus, I’m Jewish, you assholes! Let a man get some fucking sleep!”

– The final line from the little known Mamet rewrite Bob Marley, Eb Scrooge, 1982.

@Dodgerblue: It’s hard sometimes, but it is a cross I have to bear.

Oh, wait, you mean the Pope

@Dodgerblue: @Tommmcatt Be Fat, And That Be That: What’s this everybody’s saying about Papal Inflatability? Is someone trying to blow up the Pope?

@nojo: How will he fit into his great big funny hat? Where will he get robes to cover his giant tummy? Will the bishops have to attach strings to him and float him down the street like the Snoopy balloon on Thanksgiving?

@Dodgerblue: How did the laity feel? Trampled Underfoot.

Page schooled the fuck out of my boy The Edge in “This Might Get Loud.” It was kind of sad when Mr Evans showed Mr Page how simple the first U2 single (that changed my life) was. “You’re sure about that,” Page asks.

Everrybody Latke!

@Tommmcatt Be Fat, And That Be That: Well fuck me sideways! I did not know that. About the IC. I thought it referred to the Holy Ghost entering Mary through her ear (isn’t that why the ear was regarded by the Church as a sexual organ till fairly recently?). Did not know it referred to Mary’s birth. Am I wrong in thinking that the VB means that Mary was a V after Jesus was born?

And don’t worry about the boring thing. We’re used to it.

@Benedick: It’s a common, if you will, misconception.

@Benedick: In your version, Tiny Tim follows the precepts of Newt and earns a living as a rent boy?

@Tommmcatt Be Fat, And That Be That: News to me as well. I was conflating the IC with the virgin birth. Thanks for the info.

On a semi-related note, my favorite Christian art (as a general matter) is a good Annuciation. I always try to imagine what the artist thinks that Mary is thinking when she gets the word about what’s cooking.

@Walking Still: The Annunciation is one of the miniatures that always appears in illuminated Medieval books of hours, so I’ve seen a number of them in my job. One thing I love about them is how often Mary is shown reading when Gabriel appears. We also had one that showed Gabriel reaching out a hand to steady Mary, who looked like she was about to faint–which would be the totally normal, human response.

@mellbell: I see what you did there.

@Walking Still: Actually it pulls the story into the future ending with Tim as a father himself.

@Mistress Cynica: Speaking of Annunciations have we seen this? Obviously the reason behind the new quakes in Christchurch (those poor people).

@Benedick: That sounds like a thoughtful and potentially touching way to further explore Dickens’ themes. Still, I have to ask.

You didn’t make him a falsetto voiced ukelele player did you?

@Benedick: Doctrine is silent on that point. The point of the Virgin Birth is the quickening of the womb by the Holy Spirit, not whether or not Mary and Joseph bumped uglies during the pregnancy. If I were Joseph I’d be pretty pissed if I had to wait until after some other dudes baby got born to have my honeymoon, but he was obviously possessed of a more tractable and pious spirit than mine.

But I digress.

The Christmas season, to return to the original (?) topic, is no more or less important than any other Christian season, including Easter, though most of that are called the “movable feasts” by our friends the Catholics are measured from Easter’s varying date. Think of the Christian year as a microcosm of the life of Christ, which in turn is a microcosm of the live of a believer. Born ” the lowest of the low”, by stages Christ actualizes and pronounces his divinity, then is destroyed by the mortal world only to rise again through his Devine nature. So too the believer, born into the mortal world naked and low, proclaims his higher nature through stages, and at death is risen through the intercession of the Devine.

This, of course, is my spin on the whole thing. Mainstream Christians might have a problem with some of it, particularly the Paul-worshipping heretics whose philosophy of substitiary atonement and bible- fetishism over the commands of Christ himself have lead them into some very dark, anti-Christiam places.

Boring again, I know, but RML did ask…

@Benedick: I can’t find it offhand, but there’s a classic National Lampoon cover of Mary being knocked up by a dove.

@Tommmcatt Be Fat, And That Be That: Dude, according to Catholic doctrine, Joseph never got any. Mary was “ever virgin”. Probably why so many artists depicted Joseph as an old man, who perhaps would be less capable in those pre-Viagra days.

I remember seeing a panel in National Lampoon’s Son O’ God comic with that scene–a dove (pigeon?) scurrying away from a dazed Mary.

@Tommmcatt Be Fat, And That Be That:
You’ve been showing how little Christian theology I really know. What little I do know convinces me that Paul really had issues with Christ’s original teachings–sort of like what Glenn Beck does with the Founding Fathers.

@Jesuswalksinidaho: That’s it. I may have mistaken it for an issue cover. By the time I got to NatLamp, the best years were behind it.

@Mistress Cynica: Wait, didn’t Jesus have brothers? I wonder if the family carpentry firm was called “Yosef and Sons”?

@Dodgerblue: Nigel, Kevin, and Jason. We don’t talk about Tyrone.

@Dodgerblue: His brother James was one of the apostles, and other parts of the gospels make reference to brothers. I believe the Catholic Church explained them as Joseph’s sons from his first marriage.

@Jesuswalksinidaho: Paul was a bit of a fanatic. He was convinced Christ was returning during his lifetime, had an absolute horror of the flesh, and tended towards a rather legalistic tone- regardless of the fact that his master came “to end the law”. Fundamentalists and Conseevatives tend to worship him instead of Christ, since they can read their own predjuice into his writings.

@Tommmcatt Be Fat, And That Be That: Also, y’know, Paul never met Christ. Unless you count hallucinations.

What did Joseph get outta that whole ordeal other than a biblical case of blue balls? Nuthin’ that’s what. Not even any fringe-sect worshippin’.

@nojo: None of the Gospel writers ever did either. Mark came closest, if memory serves, but only by about 60 years.

@Tommmcatt Be Fat, And That Be That: When it comes down to it, it’s all Constantine’s fault.

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