Put the Christ back in Christmas? Never mind that! Keep the marks in the market! Merry Christmas!

Posted on December 24, 2017, 12:28 am
8 mins

PHOTOS & ILLUSTRATIONS: Early opponents of the War on Shopping fight back at Christmastime (Photo: Chicago History Museum). Today consumerism is the state religion of both the United States and Canada, helping to put the marks back in the market. Below: Sol Invictus. Any resemblance to the Statue of Liberty is purely coincidental. Is it time to put Sol back in the Solstice? (Photo: Wikipedia Commons.) The nativity of Jesus, as imagined by Gerrit van Honthorst, a painter of the Dutch Golden Age, in 1622. (Photo: Ditto.) Jesus was probably born either in the spring or the fall, close to an equinox. You know, when shepherds watched their flocks by night instead of putting them up in a barn. So there’s very little point putting Christ back in Christmas since he wasn’t there in the first place. But we could ask him to put some equity in the equinox, just the same. Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

I suppose that if literal sun worship were the predominant religion of our era we’d most of us have a cranky and put upon relative who habitually demanded we “put Sol back in the Solstice.”

Perhaps over time this cry would have been taken up by conservative politicians with totalitarian inclinations as a way to activate their justifiably distrustful and alienated voting base until they could figure out how to completely eliminate the inconvenience of democracy and blame it on their opponents.

That would be a better informed demand than the one we so often hear about putting the fellow in the name of the official holiday associated with this season back into the celebration, in defiance of its historical roots. (I have worded this cautiously not out of “political correctness,” which is in fact an eminently Christian notion of good manners to strangers who might turn out to be angels, but from discomfort with the appearance of irreverence, an inevitable product of my upbringing.)

This is not what we hear from the misinformed warrior-victims of the so-called War on Christmas, of course. In reality, virtually no one is opposed to saying Merry Christmas at Christmastime. It is not illegal to speak this phrase anywhere on the planet except in a few vicious feudal theocracies we prop up with our tax dollars and union-made armoured vehicles. This conflict, therefore, should really be called “the War of Christmas Domination.”

The War of Christmas Domination has as its public goal making it illegal – or at least socially unacceptable – to politely say “Happy Holidays” or some anodyne equivalent to our non-Christian neighbours. The aim of the claim is to encourage identity politics that divide us one against the other and thereby strengthen the grip of the ruling classes over us all.

Well, who knows what the future holds? Perhaps some day we will see ads on TV saying “Thank you, President Sanders, for making it legal to say ‘Happy Holidays’ again!” This would have merit compared with the current versions of this sentiment perpetrated by the likes of U.S. Caudillo Donald Trump and his Canadian imitators (Jason Kenney, c’mon down!) since it would actually have a grain of truth to it.

The principal objective of alleging there is a “War on Christmas,” of course, is to distract us from the real war this lot is prosecuting, especially at this time of year, which is the war for the continued domination by the dominant class, or, as it used to be called in a simpler and more honest time, the Class War.

This seems to be going swimmingly for them.

As for those few poor souls who actually believe we ought to put Christ back in Christmas, I can’t imagine Mr. Trump, the supposedly devoutly Catholic Mr. Kenney even, or any of the rest of their fellow class warriors, would be very happy with this. Jesus was practically a socialist, after all, judging from what he had to say for himself! That said, I am sure they are all grateful to Jesus for his oft-quoted view that the poor will always be with us and the inevitable convenient corollary that we therefore ought not to try to do anything that would actually improve their condition.

After all, if we were to figure out what the War on Christmas is actually about it might spark a War on Shopping, which would defy the true predominant religion of our age, worship of the Almighty Market.

This new state religion may be nothing more than an economic superstition, but it’s a convenient superstition for those determined to keep the marks in the market and thereby the dominant class in the dominant classification.

To do that, it’s necessary to keep us all devoutly praying that we may soon own plenty of cheap new Chinese-made electronic trinkets – which is why, as an aside, I think the risk of President Trump starting a war with China over North Korea or even the eventual dominance of the petro-yuan is an exceedingly small one, his irritating bluster notwithstanding.

It is worth remembering, of course, that just as not all Christians are crude Christian fundamentalists or blatant hypocrites who mouth fundamentalist Christian pieties as if they were, not all believers in the market are crude market fundamentalists either.

As a result, even our more liberal and secular politicians, those more inclined to allow us to say Happy Holidays if we wish, are practitioners of the market religion. This is true of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, former U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, all of them raised to be monotheists, if not exactly in the same brand of monotheism, and all of them now at least nominal believers in the Almighty Market. Nothing less would be tolerated!

Nevertheless, if you are one of those who actually believe (or claims to believe) there is a War on Christmas, beware that the chief priests of the Market may suddenly revise their official dogma and you too could find yourself accused of right deviationism, even heresy. So take care. As in Russia in 1937 and 1938, a certain caution when dealing with rulers who are ideological perfectionists may be in order.

In the mean time, Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

19 Comments to: Put the Christ back in Christmas? Never mind that! Keep the marks in the market! Merry Christmas!

  1. David

    December 24th, 2017

    The “war” against Christmas, like many wars is in part a diversion from other things. Kenney might have lost the battle on some social issues lately, but we are a predominantly Christian background country, so defending Christmas is sort of like defending motherhood. Perhaps it reminds his social conservative supporters where his sympathies lie and that while some battles have been lost, the war has not been and Kenney is not going to give up the fight. Perhaps it is also a sly way to paint his political opponents as close to godless communists.

    I don’t quite get the hullabaloo about keeping Christmas. I think most of us know what the holiday is about, although Santa seems to take top billing and has for many, many years. I suppose giving gifts to all children is quite socialist too as was feeding the poor with loaves and fishes. Kenney should be careful about wanting to go back to a more traditional holiday, it seems to celebrate giving to others, not corporate greed. Scrooge, was not a hero, but a villain and it is often a term applied to those Conservatives politicians that want to be miserly in supporting the needy.

    I have always thought we started saying happy holidays partly in recognition of it being a multi cultural society and also in the recognition there are several holidays in December, including Hanukah, Christmas and New Years as well as some others. It is a holiday season, but it is for many of us Christmas time also. As well as nice presents, I do also hope for peace on earth and good will to all, that is a part of Christmas spirit too. Its been a year of some tensions and conflict in the world and I hope some political leaders will make more of an effort for things to be better in 2018.

    Reply
  2. brett

    December 24th, 2017

    We have been ‘merry christmased’ out this year in Calgary. The only happy holidays we get if from cards sent to us by various businesses. I fully understand why they did this. Especially since, when in business, I did the exact same.

    I believe some people are trying to make an issue out of this. Not much difference from the bruhaha a few years ago over something as silly as the Starbucks cups. Or the 1-800 phone number for various federal depts.

    People like Kenney feed on this. The like to feed on a portion of the population’s fear that they are being discriminated against. Mind you, they should know about discrimination because they have been experts in practicing it for years.

    What is wrong with simply celebrating the season in one’s own way and let others do the same or do what they wish?

    Reply
  3. December 24th, 2017

    I was in England over Christmas a few years ago. I really loved the way they did Boxing Day. All the stores were closed and it was a really peaceful day. We saw lots of families out on the walking paths and it just felt like a really family oriented day, since all the obligations of Christmas were finished.

    Maybe this is just my optimistic spin, but I have wondered ever since if that is what Christmas feels like to families that do not celebrate Christmas. With both parents home because they (probably) have the day off, and no opportunity to go shopping, I can see how non-Christian kids would grow up with happy memories of spending Christmas Day enjoying the company of their families.

    Anyway, I wish you, David, and all the commenters who frequent this page, a very merry Christmas. Thank you, David, for all the work you do on this blog, and for making it possible for us to express our opinions on Alberta politics.

    Reply
  4. Jay

    December 24th, 2017

    David, were you at superstore on St. Albert trail last Friday?

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      December 24th, 2017

      Buying a roast chicken, if memory serves. DJC

      Reply
  5. Keith McClary

    December 24th, 2017

    While Ms Soapbox was trying to get the dog to sit still for his annual Ziggy under the Christmas Tree photo Mr Kenney was busy telling The Sun how he was going to prevent bozo eruptions in the UCP…and had a full-blown bozo eruption.
    https://susanonthesoapbox.com/2017/12/24/merry-christmas/

    Reply
  6. Expat Albertan

    December 24th, 2017

    Let us all not forget that, until about mid-nineteenth century England, Christmas was a minor holiday in the Christian calendar…a time to tell ghost stories by the fire. Easter is the time for devotion to the Man, for all those so inclined.

    As for me, Happy Festivus (for the rest of us)!

    Reply
  7. December 24th, 2017

    Keep the marks in the market? Maybe we need a little more Marx in the markets. IMHO.

    In any event, dealth to the capitalist class! Death to bourgeoisie self-interest! Long live the proletariat struggle! And Merry Xmas! (but not necessarily in that order)

    Reply
  8. Thelma

    December 25th, 2017

    A Very Merry Holidays to you and yours, too! As well, all the best of the season to your frequent commenters.
    I appreciate your writing and analysis on Alberta politics.
    Btw, I think it was D-Fib who started the War on Christmas though – did he not just get charged with shooting Rudolph?! lol

    Reply
  9. Curtis in Calgary

    December 25th, 2017

    https://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2015/12/24/the-real-war-on-christmas-comes-from-the-right.html

    From all of us at our household, including the pets, please accept, with no obligation, implied or implicit, our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, gender neutral, culturally ambiguous celebration of the winter solstice holidays, originally but not exclusively known as Saturnalia, Brumalia, Uttarayana or Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, practised within the most joyous traditions of the secular or religious persuasion of your choice, but with respect for the secular or religious preferences of others. Additionally, we wish you a fiscally successful and medically uncomplicated recognition of the generally accepted calendar year 2018, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures and without regard to the race, creed, colour, religious, or sexual predilection of the wisher.

    (Disclaimer: By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms: This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others and no responsibility for any unintended emotional stress these greetings may bring to those not caught up in the holiday spirit.)

    Reply
  10. brett

    December 25th, 2017

    My spouse’s relatives are far right. They are always going on about discrimination against Christians. They especially seem to like Christmas so they can rattle on about people not saying Merry Christmas, etc.

    But they are the first people to complain about giving the Syrian refugees refuge in Canada or admitting anyone who is not white and evangelical. And why should we help those immigrants when there is poverty in Canada. It grates me even though I am a first generation WASP.

    They have an extremely small view of the world and they are tend to be the most prejudiced people in the world. They would never vote for a political party whose leader had a French name and/or was from Quebec. They actually go out of their way to find out what the religious persuasion is of any candidate they consider voting for. To me, this is such a sad commentary. But there appears to be a fair number of like minding folks out there.

    Fortunately they, and their ilk are not the majority. As Harper found out after the niquab and the barbaric practices hotline fiasco. Canada is such a wonderful country. We are so fortunate to be part of it.

    Reply
  11. Conrad

    December 25th, 2017

    It’s unfortunate David Climenhaga believes in censorship and doesn’t publish all comments on this blog, just the ones that support his extremist left ideology…

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      December 26th, 2017

      Thank you, Conrad, for providing me with the opportunity to expound briefly on my comments policy at AlbertaPolitics.ca. Since I have a sincere and profound commitment to free speech, I am prepared to go quite far in allowing comments that would likely be beyond the pale in most moderated forums. Certain things will not be tolerated, however, and these include: profanity (which will be edited or deleted, depending on circumstances); threats (to me or third parties); defamation (and since I am the author and proprietor of this blog, I will be the judge of what is defamatory and lacks a solid defence in law, and I will tend to err on the side of caution); racist, sexist or religious slurs (again, I will be the judge); certain types of allegations that may not be defamatory but which nevertheless cannot be proved or inferred (such as claims about certain politicians’ sexual preferences); irrelevant comments (whether commercial come-ons or efforts to turn the conversation to particular bees in the author’s bonnet); and attempts to steal other people’s identities either in jest or in an effort to deceive. So “Conrad” is right that I have deleted a number of comments that fell mainly into the latter category in the past few days. I would infer from this that he/she is the author of at least some of these comments, although I can’t say I usually bother to check. I do my best to delete all comments of this sort, but I daresay I have missed the odd one. So if you are the victim of a deception of this sort, please let me know and I will take appropriate measures. DJC

      Reply
      • Hana Razga

        December 26th, 2017

        Amen to that…..!
        Some publications shut down their comment sections entirely, precisely for the reasons you edit/delete, particularly the bees in one’s bonnet.

        Reply
    • Bob Raynard

      December 26th, 2017

      Did you hear that, Farmer Brian? You are an extremist lefty! Who knew?

      Reply
  12. TC

    December 27th, 2017

    As there are two statutory holidays commemorating important moments in Jesus’s life (his birth and crucifixion) in Canada, I don’t see how Christians are victims of discrimination.

    Research into the history of Christmas reveals some interesting facts, amongst which, Christians are the only group in history to declare “war” on Christmas. To quote Bart Simpson, “the ironing is delicious”.

    http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/the-current-for-december-20-2017-1.4456664/christmas-banned-the-unknown-forgotten-and-surprising-history-of-this-holiday-tradition-1.4456696

    Reply
  13. Brett

    December 27th, 2017

    Christians are hardly targets of discrimination although they seem to enjoy wallowing in it. Just ask someone from another faith or race.

    Can you imagine attempting to force the Lords Prayer on public schools? Especially on the school I attended where a healthy number of students were Jewish. So much so that we enjoyed school vacation for both.

    And today…..Sikhs, Buddists, whatever. Yet there are some that say that our school boards discriminate by not subjecting these students to the practice of reciting this prayer. This is not left wing. IT is being considerate and tolerant of those with other beliefs.

    Christians in Canada have been experts in discrimination. Subtle and not so subtle. You only have to go back to the St. Louis and work forward. The trick is to ask someone who is not Chistian.

    Reply

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