Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Pagan Christmas Wish


Christmas has always been a pagan time of year.

Somewhere around the 4th Century, the Church picked December 25th as the date to celebrate Christ's birth in a special "Christ's Mass". The date was selected so that the Christians could compete with established pagan winter feasts like Saturnalia, Juvenilia and Samhain. The New Testament has nothing to say about the day or month that Christ was born on. Making Jesus a Capricorn was strictly a marketing ploy.

As I've watched Christmases slide by over the past few decades, it seems to me that the pagan nature of the festival has started to assert itself more and more. It has become a festival in which we throw ourselves into excess with as much noise, light, alcohol and food as we can lay our hands on.

Christmas parties are a time to get pissed enough to have the courage to try and get off with the girl from accounting with the big tits and the heart-shaped arse, while still having plausible deniability if you fail to pull or fail to get it up or fail to remember her name in the morning.

Christmas is a time when gangs of well-fleshed young women strut through night-dark streets, in tiny Santa's Little Helper uniforms that flash more flesh than they make the effort to stretch over.

Christmas is a peak time for the sale of sex toys and fluffy handcuffs and nickers with "I'm Your Christmas Ho Ho Ho" printed across the arse.

Men's magazine's run jokey articles on the best positions for a festive fuck, with illustrations of "The Sleigh," "Jingle Balls", "The Reindeer" and, inevitably perhaps, "Come All Ye Faithful".

None of this is my kind of thing.

My Christmas is indeed pagan. It centres not on a born-to-die-for-me baby with parents too clueless to book accommodation when they traveled – that lack of practicality makes a virgin birth almost plausible. My Christmas centres on celebrating life; specifically my wife's life and the fact that she continues to share it with me.

When we were in our teens, Christmas Day belonged to our families and we would spend it apart, so we developed the habit of celebrating on Christmas Eve beneath the Christmas Tree. We were young. We were not having sex. And yet one of the strongest sense memories I have is what it felt like to kiss and be kissed in the soft glow of the Christmas Tree lights:

Warmth

Joy

Hope

Excitement

Love

For me these are the pagan spirits Christmas evokes each year.

I hope as many of them as you would wish for find you this Christmas Eve.

8 comments:

  1. Even though it's not my memory, it makes me feel nostelgic. Thank you, Mike.

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  2. That's cool.

    I think one of the winter pagan celebrations you were thinking of was probably Yule, which has a variable date in different countries (and is of variable length, anything from a day to a month in different cultures) though Wiccans tend to celebrate it around the winter solstice, which most years falls on 21st December (as it did this year, with an eclipse to boot).

    Saturnalia was a little before, I think 17th December in the modern calendar, and eventually a week-long festival starting on that day.

    Juvenilia - sorry, I spent years proofreading and I think you mean Juvenalia, which is a little different (or maybe not, depending on your point of view!).

    Christmas for us in recent years has tended to become a bugger-the-world, 'we're holing up for a couple of days and pleasing ourselves' sort of time. It means self-indulgence, which we don't do a lot of in the normal course of things. And it means freedom from needing to please other people, which we seem to do for the rest of the year!

    Enjoy your Christmas!

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  3. Hi Mike

    If I've read this right, you;ve been with your wife since you were teenagers? If that's true it must be a wonderful thing to know a person so intimately for so long. Erotica writers are always surprising me, not by how kinky their imaginations are, but by how down to earth their real selves turn out to be.

    And of course that is the way to celebrate Christmas too, being with people. I think that's why I like Thanksgiving better, because consumer culture has so far failed to find a way to corrupt it. It seems like the only real family holiday left.

    Garce

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  4. Hi Kathleen,

    thank you. That's a great compliment

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  5. Hi Fulani,

    I hope you get the time you need over the holidays.

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  6. Hi Garce,

    I my wife and I went to the same school. We've been a couple for 34 years and married for 22. We still enjoy talking to each other about almost anything for hours at a time. No one knows me better. No one means more to me.

    My writing is fiction, not biography. I think that's true of most writers of erotica.

    I hope you and yours have a great Christmas

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  7. Mike, this is beautiful: My Christmas centres on celebrating life; specifically my wife's life and the fact that she continues to share it with me.

    I understand this deeply.

    Also, the thoughts on kissing in Christmas tree lights is touching.

    Thanks for sharing this. It will stay with me this holiday season.

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  8. Hello, Mike,

    Honestly, I think it is the pagan roots of Christmas that are responsible for its emotional pull. Not so much the notion of sensual excess - I don't think that's considered especially pagan, except by self-righteous Christians - but the age-old celebration of the turning of the year, the rebirth of light in the dead of winter as we round the solstice and head toward the equinox. As I talked about in my post, resurrection as a theme goes way back, long before Christ walked the earth.

    Have a happy day, however you spend it.

    Warmly,
    Lisabet

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