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The real meaning of the Holidays

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The holy days are meant to honor faith, we are told. I will overlook the obvious—that the real meaning of the holidays is a boon to the merchants and anxiety to rest of us who worry about finding the right gift for the most of us who have enough of everything that it’s difficult to find something unique or really wanted that we can afford. However, my look at what is the meaning of the holidays adds up to three propositions:

1. The real meaning of the Holidays is righteous indignation. Exhibit A is a rant by O'Reilly Declares Victory In "War On Christmas" on March of 2013, that is repeated again as we near the holidays: "We Won The War On Christmas Battle. “If you watch the Factor, you know that we won the "War on Christmas" battle. A few years ago some American companies ordered their employees not to say "Merry Christmas." Remember that? We presented the facts to you, you told the stores you wouldn't buy there. The crazy edict was quickly rescinded. Power to the people. But the war on Judeo-Christian tradition continues on in some public school districts. In 10 days it will be Easter Sunday. But in some schools you are not allowed to say the word "Easter." On Long Island, the East Meadow school district, holding a Spring egg hunt -- not Easter eggs, Spring eggs. Same thing in Prospect Heights, Illinois. Manhattan Beach, California. Flat Rock Elementary School in South Carolina, and a school district in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania. No Easter.” Such a rant as O’Reilly echoes in those of us who lament that too many in our world know how to worship in the holidays. Why? Because they don’t know the real meaning of the holidays as we do. Such a lament adds up to righteous indignation.

2. The real meaning of the holidays is let’s pretend. The holidays are a time of pageantry as do many churches in re-living the birth of Christ and as do other faiths honoring founders of their religion. Beliers admit that they can’t prove a there is a god; they just know it by Faith. So let’s admit that we are adults playing out such events as immaculate birth, miraculous healing, resurrection, and a heaven created and overseen by a caring god despite the destruction and tragedy of hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes, draughts, plagues and dog eat dog evolution. George Carlin on Religion: puts it bluntly, more bluntly than believers can tolerate. For example in December 23, 2005, two days before Christmas, among a longer rant, he said, “I say "this guy", because I firmly believe, looking at these results, that if there is a God, it has to be a man. No woman could or would ever fuck things up like this. So, if there is a God, I think most reasonable people might agree that he's at least incompetent, and maybe, just maybe, doesn't give a shit. Doesn't give a shit, which I admire in a person, and which would explain a lot of these bad results.” And my third real meaning proposition is in keeping with the let’s pretend meaning of the holidays.

3. The real meaning of the Holidays is cheering that we are winners in spite of the fact that most of us aren’t. This cheering begins in the late fall and extends well into winter in our national obsession with the violent sport of American football. No mega church, even those that boast 20,000 or more thousands members or even mass gatherings in this country, can muster the stadiums full of screaming fans weekend after weekend, especially on the holidays. The one exception to this is the millions of muslin pilgrims that throng to Mecca year after year do out-number our mobs at football games, but that is only once a year whereas our throngs are weekend after weekend from coast to coast. I grant that hard-working people need some relief from the grind of trying to put bread on the table, but is there not something wrong about paying adults to make play their work? And is it that we as a people willing to do because we identify with the illusive feeing we are winners?

This fanatic obsession is a multi-billion dollar business that is blessed from peewee football to the pros. Billions of hours are invested in training, practice, play, watching-watching-watching, and after the game quarterbacking. There is little tolerance and much purposeful ignorance of the hard facts of crushing bashing of bodies, concussions, brain injuries, and egos identifying with one’s team. Moreover, is it not stupid for this intentionally injurious sport to be subsidized by taxes and cities building stadiums so that a team’s owners can make even more money as that that allows them to buy teams and overpay athletes—almost is perpetual warring in which there are few winners and mostly losers? More could be said on this cheerful real meaning of the holidays, but I leave that to those whose significant others must put up with most of us who watch rather than really participate in crushing tackles over the holidays.



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