Monday, December 27, 2010

The big lie is over

This morning's sunrise

12/26/10 Sunday
Despite the wonderful ways my brain has healed itself over the ten years since I was in a coma, I still enjoy one of the strange benefits that comes with memory loss. Right now Cherie and I are watching the movie “The Sound of Music”. I asked her “Have I seen this movie since we got back together” and she told me “Yes, many times”, but it’s still fresh and almost new to me. I find myself once again wiping tears from my eyes as Maria and the Baron, Von Trapp, find their love for each other. Some of the scenes are familiar and just about all of the music is, but for the most part it’s still new to me. Coupled with that is the increase in the emotions I feel, thus the need to wipe tears from my eyes. Last night I watched the Nutcracker Ballet for what seems to be the first time ever, though I’m sure I’ve seen it, or portions of it, before. Once again the music is familiar, so that part of my memory stayed more intact despite the trauma.

There is a purity in this movie, a purity that has long since left much of the world. Sure the movie deals with the evil that infected Europe through Hitler and his Nazi’s, but despite that there is an illustrated innocence and goodness of the human spirit that shines through. It is good triumphing over evil, the eternal battle that goes on at an ever increasing pace in this day and age. That pureness, the clean morality presented in the Sound of Music, is now made fun of in many circles, held in disdain and even despised by some who’s stain strives to corrupt all that is good, who desire to bring all to their level of depravity. Such is the way of men, and has always been. You’ve heard of the old saying “Misery loves company” and it’s a truth we see all around. When I was an alcoholic and a drug addict I surrounded myself with others who shared the same weaknesses, and we all gloried in it. I remember making stupid jokes like “I must have had a good time last night, because I can’t remember what I did”. Looking back it seems incredible how I worked hard to make a level of alcohol poisoning that damaged my liver, kidneys, and brain to the point of being unable to remember what I did, into something fun. And I had a lot of company in that. How grateful I am to now be free now, to live a life where drugs or drink aren’t a requirement to have a good time.

Well folks, the big lie is over. I’m sure that if I asked any of you “Is it good to tell lies” most of you would say “NO”. Honesty is a principle that is generally presented and promoted as a good thing, and being dishonest is equally looked on as a bad thing. So we were at a restaurant yesterday and listening to a family seated at the table next to us lie to their children about Santa Clause. You know, how he flies with reindeer and comes down chimneys of every house in the world. And it’s a lie that the world supports in so many ways. Movies are made, the weather stations track him with the radar, and even NORAD, our nuclear defense department, gets into the act. Presents are under the tree labeled as coming from Santa, and there are thousands of people donning red suits and fake beards to pretend to be this guy we all know doesn’t exist. “BUT IT’s FOR THE KIDS” you say in dismay that I would dare expose this grand deception. “BUT It’s a LIE” I reply. We set all the kids up for disappointment, knowing at some point they will realize they’ve been lied too. Can’t we give gifts because it’s the end of the year, or for some other honest reason?

I was just saying in church, yesterday, that God is a God of truth and in Him there is no lie. He is light and reveals all lies, driving away the darkness. The truth is not terribly convenient for many people, but that doesn’t stop it from being true. Even if it’s not convenient we should face the truth, and examine our lives in the light of it. I know so many people who live a lie, who’s lives are a big false front of contradictions between what they say and what they do.

I guess that while I’m busy being politically incorrect about Christmas I might as well go all the way. The truth is that Christ was not born on December 25. Odds are he was born in October or before based on the fact that the shepherds were still out in the fields with their sheep. When the rains and cold weather came is when shepherds throughout the land would bring their herds in for the winter. Where did the date come from? Basically it’s from the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. This moment has long been recognized and celebrated in many ways by all cultures throughout the world, with the exception of equatorial civilizations that do not experience the seasons the rest of us do. The winter solstice happens in December in the northern half of the world while the southern half experiences it’s longest day of the year.

But digging deeper into written history we find a more significant source for this date. It was the acclaimed birth date of Nimrod, the builder of Babylon. Nimrod was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah we know from the story of the flood. A study of who Nimrod was and what he did reveals why God got so upset when Nimrod went to build the tower of Babel. To avoid getting into a ton of detail that I don’t have room or time for here I’ll just give a synopsis on who and what he was. Nimrod, among other things, married his mother, Semiramis. When he died she decided to make him a god by concocting a story about an evergreen tree that sprang up full grown overnight from a stump. This was to represent Nimrod’s “resurrection” from the dead into new life. She claimed that every year at this time Nimrod would leave gifts under this tree. Sound familiar?

Now, throughout the history of the world, we find the roots of this belief system in many forms and variations. The whole “Mother and child”, “Queen of heaven” with her “Devine son” concept permeates cultures throughout the world, and is the core of Baal worship that the Bible speaks of so much. The names are changed, be it Isis and Osiris from Egypt, or Fortuna and Jupiter in Rome, the root is the same. A central tenant found in these many variations of the pagan religion is worship of the sun and the son of the sun. Do you understand where the name “Sunday” comes from? It was the roman day set aside to worship the sun. Mithras was a “secret” religion popular in Rome that traces it’s roots to Zorastrianism of early Persia and Constantine, who married Christianity with Roman pagan beliefs practiced it and declared Sunday to be the Sabbath.

Of course that’s at the beginnings of what was to become the Catholic church and the church eagerly practiced assimilating existing beliefs through compromise and making the pagan practices a part of the official rituals, changing the names to make them “Christian”. Part of those practices involved the evergreen trees that dated back to Nimrod. Here’s an interesting scripture that sure describes what we practice today, thousands of years after Jeremiah wrote this.

Jeremiah 10:2 This is what the LORD says: "Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the sky, though the nations are terrified by them. 3 For the customs of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. 4 They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter. 5 Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good."

Ok, don’t know about you but that’s pretty clear to me. While I’m at it, lets touch on the Yule log and other things connected with the word “Yule”. Basically this is a Germanic word found in many variances throughout the European continent. As with everything all cultures make things their own, putting their own spin and flavors to them and adopting them as their own. As a general rule they are based on the solstice, the end of the old year and beginning of the new, a natural time of celebration. The “Twelve days of Christmas” directly come from these pagan practices, though in Norway and Iceland (among others) it’s thirteen days. Interestingly, in Iceland there are visits each of these days from a person (Who comes down out of the mountains) bearing gifts. This person knocks on the door and asks if the children have been good in order for them to receive presents. This is a tradition that precedes the arrival of Christianity by hundreds of years.

In most forms of Wicca the solstice is significant and celebrated as the rebirth of the great horned hunter god, sometimes known as the lord Cernunnos. I don’t think it’s an accident at all that the bible refers to Nimrod as the great hunter and see a clear connection between the two. When you dig into the original Hebrew you find that the term referring to Nimrod inferred that he was a hunter of men’s souls, a scary connotation when it comes to spiritual things. The Wiccan’s burn a “Yule log” decorated with Holly and other items in honor of the horned god. Part of the ritual symbolizes the death of the holly king and the rebirth of the oak king. Mistletoe is also an important item in many of the pagan practices, with the white berries symbolizing the semen of a god and the whole kissing under it a fertility rite.

I’ve just barely scratched the surface here. It amazes me how many pagan practices are a major part of our Christmas celebration, and how many people are pretty clueless about it. I know that some will now call me the Grinch, and that’s fine. I’ve been called a lot of things but at least you can’t call me a liar. I don’t like Christmas because it’s a pain in the ass. People are rude, people get depressed, suicides are at their highest, and many spend money they don’t have to give gifts to people who don’t appreciate them. It’s a big money making enterprise, the biggest of the year that makes or breaks some companies. Just because pagans give gifts to each other at this time of year, doesn’t make it wrong to give gifts. The whole attempt to make this about celebrating the birth of Christ is based on a lie, and while it’s good to try to make a bad thing good, don’t lie to do it. I will celebrate the end of another year of life, the life that is a gift for me to have. I will love those around me, even if they are not lovable. When I see a need and am able to meet it I will give, no matter what time of the year it is. Jesus was born, when doesn’t matter. He is God and came to earth with the specific goal of dying in all of our places, dying in order that we might have life. This is the miraculous rebirth that is real and reachable. The one that comes when all your sins are forgiven and you are washed clean so you can start anew, and have eternal life.

The widow called so I must go visit her and help around the house. I was able to fix her chair and that is where she can sleep without the intense pain her broken hip causes. Consequently she has gotten more sleep than she’s had in quite a while. I set the vanity up in the bathroom. It’s not plumbed yet but after getting lots of advice from the Lowe’s guys I think I can do it. Cherie just cried when she saw it. This not having a bathroom has been so hard on her and I was glad to give her some hope.

Time to go.

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