I’m very pleased to introduce today’s guest author. Matthew David is a gay Christian and talented singer/songwriter with an aptness for challenging popular conceptions. In his second Guest Slap, Matthew questions whether Christianity’s appropriation of Christmas was wise, and whether it’s possible to integrate one’s faith with knowledge that the Nativity is rooted in pagan mythology.
Christmas is a write-off for a lot of people who have happily fallen deaf to the pagan reconstruction’s attempt at Christian symbolism. Adding to that the corporate cash-grab which brings about greed-gone-wild in our children (and our adults too), the heart of the season seems to have been lost. And ever a blog post, article, or television preacher crying foul about this very tragic loss every December.
I’ll join the chorus, but as an oddball—a gay Christian. Sure, many an “unsaved” soul has seen the Christmas tree, the holly, the stockings, and the virgin/manger nativity, and has observed that this is nothing more than a rebranding of Rome’s then-ancient pagan myth. Some have even seen the story behind the celebration as “same script, different cast,” referring to some Egyptian, Greek, or Hindu god-story, to list only a few. To be sure, the similarities are exact, and become frightening to the faithful.
Others have gone further, writing off everything the church believes as false, as they’ve seen how the institution’s dogma has mistreated the human race in ages past, and yes, continues to do the very same burning at the stake (well, as much as the law allows, the bastards). Many readers have experienced the unChristian manifestation of this dogma personally, and have in turn, turned their back on the people of this dogma, and even the dogma itself. Granted, if a belief prescribes atrocity, why believe?
But here’s a thought in a different vein: don’t let a people’s obviously-false doctrine rule out the pursuit of a correct interpretation of said doctrine. Siding with naysayers is the easy button for a person who has been hurt or has seen others hurt; likewise, news that demeans the character of an enemy is easily believed, and is rarely given fair and responsible thought.
Generally, looking at things with an open mind and a different angle is wisdom. Believe immediately the premise that Christmas is a man-made myth meant to help us sleep at night, or hear the criticism and ask a question. Perhaps this: Is Christmas veiled paganism, or is it the final manifestation of the persistent collective human psyche’s prophecy of a god-man coming? Have ancient sages, prophets, and star-gazers from every part of the world and from every age seen the same story in their rituals, apparitions, and star-charts, and deducted the same story to pass on to the masses? Or is this population control for a new era? Perhaps something even more sinister? There are many things to ask before a fair judgment is made, if we’re willing to be fair.
This holiday season, take the time to entertain the thought that there may be something good within the traditions to believe. When we have preconceived notions about anything, we miss the true notions when they come. And believe me, if you will, a pauper’s baby in a back-country manger is easy to miss… Still, strange so many have believed all this time.
Thanks again to today’s guest author! If you’d like to hear more from Matthew, including his brand new album, Masquerade, head on over to the official Matthew David website.