You will find nobody who values ritual and tradition than a man who hasn’t missed his twice-daily calisthenics in over ten years. When times change so that your rituals and traditions hurt rather than help, sticking with them will hurt you.
The Christmas tree ritual and tradition may have once delighted and may still within the home, but systemically, it’s hurting. It doesn’t make sense either. Connecting fir trees, elves, and snow sleds with Bethlehem is as inaccurate as suggesting the baby born there would have blond hair and blue eyes. Odds are that he would have looked more like a Palestinian or Israeli than any modern representation I’ve seen. Could it be any clearer that the holiday as we celebrate it today is as much pagan and materialist as anything else?
I read a recent story of anger at Italian Bishop for clearly stating that Santa Claus didn’t exist, Italian Bishop Gives Children Harsh News: There Is No Santa Claus. The story said “when one of the children protested, telling the bishop that her parents had assured her Santa was real, the cleric responded that the child should tell her parents ‘you tell lies.'”
If you think about it, people who get angry are getting angry over someone revealing what they know to be lies as lies. Those lies put the church in an awkward position. If they’re lying about Santa Claus, should people believe them about Jesus?
I mention the Christmas deviations from celebrating the birthday it purports to celebrate, as well as the values of, say the Sermon on the Mount, to show that Christmas rituals and traditions have changed in time and across cultures. You know how ours has changed through Coca-Cola’s sponsorship and Amazon’s and other corporations’ bullshit.
This morning I took a few pictures of the sad, pathetic, disgusting results of our hanging on to twisted and inaccurate rituals and traditions unrelated to any understanding of the spirit of Christmas I know of. In past years, I’ve taken pictures of all the trees on one block, chopped down, trucked hundreds of miles, displayed for a few days, and discarded. This year, I took only a few pictures, but mostly of the big spot in the park where someone put a collection spot so they could burn some more fossil fuels to rip apart the trees to make mulch.
First, and speaking of Amazon, here’s one pile of once living trees amid plastic garbage and single-use shipping boxes. I don’t see how anyone could look at this scene and not feel some motivation to cry. California is on fire permanently. The Amazon’s fires may go out sooner than California’s for turning that rain forest irreversibly into savanna. And we chop down trees for outdated mostly-pagan rituals and lies.
Again, I’m all for peace on Earth, turning the other cheek, and goodwill toward men, but what do these scenes have to do with that?
Here are a few pictures of the spot in Washington Square Park where they ask people to leave their trees to mulch. Is there any problem we try to solve without burning fossil fuels? Why the plastic?
For that matter, can we help ourselves from graffiti-ing over every surface around?
Happy new year.
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