For a long time, I've thought my very first attempt at blogging was on the Tumblr version of Corybanter, a quick welcome post from February 13, 2009, entitled "Welcome to Corybanter!" However, I've just been digging through some other blogs that I had almost completely forgotten about, including a journal I used to keep on LiveJournal.com. As it turns out, my very first post (which I've copied below) is dated December 13, 2007, over a year before that first Tumblr post. I had forgotten this, but apparently I moved my blogging to Posterous sometime around 2010, and pretty much stopped using LiveJournal. Anyway, enjoy this very first blog post from over 13 years ago...
The Reason for the Season: a Plea for Sanity
13th December 2007
none, at the moment
On both sides of the seemingly eternal argument over Christmas, there are strident emotions that seem to get nastier every year. On the Christian side, we have the folks who talk continuously about how Jesus is "the reason for the season" (such a clever little rhyme), about how "they" are trying to "get rid of Christmas," and about how saying "Happy Holidays" is basically tantamount to accepting the Mark of the Beast. Over on the secular side, we have those who are constantly complaining about how they don't want to hear a "Merry Christmas" in any public place, about how those who celebrate Christmas are trying to shove their religion down others' throats, and about how manger scenes are an infringement on their constitutional rights.
Then there are those of us who live in the middle, in a place I like to call Normal. (Actually, I really used to live in a place called Normal, a small city in central Illinois, but I digress...) Yes, I frequently alternate between "Happy Holidays" and "Merry Christmas," while cheerfully maintaining my Christian status. I have never personally met anyone who is crusading to erase Christmas from the world, and I don't think it's possible to do so, considering the importance of Christmas to the economy of America. Having worked many years now in retail, I really question the thesis that Jesus is the reason for the season, having seen very little of that much-talked-about "Christmas Spirit" among the frantic shoppers who have yelled at me and even physically threatened me over the past decade and a half. Even the term "Christmas Spirit" isn't really that wrapped up in the Christian symbolism of Christmas, and anyone who knows their church history knows that Christmas is basically a pagan feast adapted and adopted by the ruling Christians some time after Constantine's conversion.
I think it's great for Christians to enjoy the religious aspects of Christmas, to find meaning in its symbolism that resonates with their faith, but the truth is, much of Christmas as we know it really doesn't have much to do with Christian faith, and never has. Santa, the Christmas Tree, gift giving, lighting of candles, the bloated commercialism of the fourth quarter of the retail year, none of it really has a thing to do with the birth of Jesus Christ. Heck, even the date doesn't have anything to do with the birth of Jesus!
So, like I said, I choose to live here in the middle of the controversy, where my celebration of Christmas is informed by my Christian faith, but where my Christian faith doesn't live or die based on how others choose to celebrate (or not celebrate) this holiday season...or Christmas season, if you prefer. Or Kwanzaa, or Chanukah, or....whatever. Have a Merry or Happy <insert name of preferred holiday here>!!!
(adj.) wild and frenzied; from Greek κορυβαντες (Korybantes)