A festival for the rest of us all

December 16, 2012 

All the heathenish customs and pagan rites and ceremonies, riotous drinking, gluttony, luxury, wantonness, dancing, dicing, stage-plays, interludes, masks, mummeries, with all other pagan sports and profane practices, it's Monday Mail.

Happy heathen days

Today's opening is from "Christmas, the Christians Grand Feast," in which Rector Thomas Mockett in the 1640s argued the holly-jolly holiday festivities English authorities then were trying to outlaw came from early Christians' gaining converts by mimicking the pagan Roman festival of Saturnalia.

After Oliver Cromwell overthrew King Charles I, England waged a true "war on Christmas" by trying to ban celebrating it with games, music and feasting. This backfired, as rioting commoners joined Royalists in rebelling against this assault on their holiday customs.

The restoration of Charles II ended that assault in 1660. And that's what happens when you tell people to stop partying and ponder the real meaning of Christmas.

The longest night

Some say the world will end Friday, according to the Mayan calendar. So it's a good thing we're on the Gregorian calendar.

If the world does not end by 6:12 a.m. Friday, winter will begin, as that's when the sun shines upon the Tropic of Capricorn, the winter solstice.

Fetes of strength

Here's a follow-up voice-mail from a reader who earlier objected to my calling Thanksgiving a celebration of gluttony:

Hi Mr. Chitwood,

This is Matthew Floyd. Thank you for the retraction in the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, I really enjoyed reading it. I want to encourage you to attend one of the worship services this year to know about the real meaning of Christmas, whether it's First Baptist, St. Luke United Methodist, First Presbyterian, any of the churches downtown or uptown.

I encourage you to attend one of them, so that you can learn what the real meaning of Christmas is all about. I'm sure that any of these churches will be glad to have you. I also encourage you to come to Wynnton Methodist, and you can learn about the real meaning of Christmas. We would be glad to have you. Thank you for the retraction. Have a nice day and Merry Christmas.

And oh, by the way, Christmas is not about a paganistic day. It's about Christ. Thank you.

And don't be a Grinch. Remember Christmas is not about trees and trinkets and ornaments and presents. It's about Christ. And even without those things, Christmas is still going to happen, and still going to come, even despite the recession.

Have a nice day.

Dear Matthew:

Are any of those churches marking Festivus? It falls on a Sunday this year.

Tim Chitwood, tchitwood@ledger-enquirer.com, 706-571-8508.

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