Apr 24, 2011 - 4:43 am
(Kris Kristofferson reference)
I am, as those who know me well enough know well enough of me, not a christian soldier. I am what I would argue is an agnostic: an unknower, as I would put it, not to stir up any hornets' nests here.
It is my intent, instead, only to wish the very best to my christian friends on this particularly holy day.
For my part, I have some wonderment about how the birth of your savior can be of greater excitement, ritual, and even solemnity than his death and rising, when, after all, the man, the son of god, was not your son of god until Easter bore it out, at least for you and, admittedly, a host of others.
In my own upbringing, Christmas was always the greatest of the holidays (and still is, frankly, despite my agnosticism). In my upbringing, Christmas was a time of great celebration, of gift-giving, of church-going, of visiting with friends and family, a hectic time in the weeks leading up to the great day.
Of Easter, I remember, even in the times of our greatest stickling to the rituals of our faith, a somber, nearly sad occasion, despite the purported easter bunny and the eggs and the chocolate and the jelly beans and the little gooey chicks (no, not my girlfriends! I don't know what they are made of, but everybody knows what I mean when I say 'the gooey little chicks'!) (And I didn't mean I didn't know what my girlfriends were made of: they were made of sugar and spice and everything nice, of course, with one or two exceptions.)
I found this odd then, precocious little twerp that I was, and find it odd now, precocious little old twerp that I am. The birth of Jesus, to my way of thinking, has NOTHING on his willing (albeit it seems with some more or less great reluctantce at times,particularly in the most critical moment) crucifixion and the most important thing of all, his apparent metaphorical bus ticket back home to dad.
I DO understand that the birth of a Messiah should be a cause for great rejoicing, although, given his historic propensity for temple-rage, I'm not sure he would be all up for the commecialism of his birth. Even as I speak those words I can see him rampaging through a WallyWorld on Christmas Eve or even, more likely, gathering a host of federal angels to raid the offices of televangelists far and wide.
Even so, that event cannot be the cause for celebration among christians that this one should be. Or am I missing something? He was not your Messiah, after all, until he did his disappearing act, right? (And I am not making light of this, even if it sounds as though I am: this is how I write, really.)
I know about how Christmas was a cultural sort of sneak attack, wherein the christian proselytizers from Rome ultimately incorporated pagan ritual and dates into the holiday in order to bring in those pesky western Europeans. I am surprised that, beyond the easter bunny (fertility?) more was not done for this holiday as well.
I do recall that, as a boy, as a teen, I attended Christmas mass routinely, even without being compelled to do so by the wielding of a silver cross meant to sear my heart should I refuse. No, I wanted to wear cool new clothes and sit in the balcony and shoot spitwads onto the spiritual but bald heads of elderly male followers in the lower row. I do not recall the same insistence with respect to Easter and, again, I find that odd.
Lilies are solemn, I will allow. And the lesser commericialism, I will submit to that as well. Perhaps these are among a number of talismans that say "Easter IS more important."
Happy Easter, my christian friends,