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Why Is “Christ” Missing From “Christmas?”

Posted on Friday, 16th December 2011 @ 12:56 PM by Text Size A | A | A

I like Jesus. I’m not a Jew for Jesus but I like the man and his history. A young, rebellious rabbi who belonged to the 99%, he fought to bring a better existence to the masses, feeding the hungry, associating with lepers and whores while the 1%, led by the rich elders of the temple sold him out to the Roman governor of Judea to get him out of the way. It didn’t take much. Like the political smearing we see between Democrats and Republicans, the Romans feared the Hebrews, who were tough, rebellious and the conquered of the Roman Empire. The Hebrews were the only nation that really made Rome nervous, as they were the hardest to conquer and the toughest to subjugate. Jesus was not a problem as a rabbi but as a symbol to his people as someone who could lead them from the rule of the Romans in armed revolt. To the elders of the Temple, he was trouble as a rabbi, threatening to lead the people in revolt against the richest 1%. We need a Jesus today, although he would be arrested with a face full of pepper spray and locked away, never to be seen again.

To Christians, he holds a greater symbol of faith. He died for the sins of his followers and faith in him as the Son of God means eternal life in heaven. He forgives all sins simply by asking his forgiveness and accepting him into one’s heart as a personal savior. Well, that is what I’m told by those who want me to see the error of my Jewish ways. We all stray and make mistakes. That is just being human. Where does a repeated mistake become a twisted version of something worthy of forgiveness?

I have known too many devout Christians who purposefully lie during the week, thinking they need but to ask forgiveness on Sunday to be purged of their sin. Does it work like that? Is this sin without any sort of consequence to one’s immortal soul? If one repeatedly perpetrates the same sin over and over and over, can it be forgiven by a savior who forgives mortal sin? As any father would, I try to teach my children that constant lying is not forgivable. After the first time my children told a lie, they were told why it’s wrong and what the punishment would be the next time they were caught lying. That’s all they needed to learn their lesson. Perhaps this is too trite to match the power of Jesus and his lessons for humankind. Perhaps it does make sense.

Now, as Christmas approaches, to celebrate the birth of this savior, we see video of Christians blinding each other with pepper spray to be the first in line for $100 42-inch LCD TVs and the must-have toys their children must possess or they will feel unloved and be sneered at by their peers for not having the popular toy of the month.

As the day of Christ’s birth approaches – or rather the day assigned to appease the pagans into following Christianity, toting along trees and ornaments in a deal made by the church, throwing the true birth and meaning to the four winds in exchange for loyalty, we are bombarded by Christmas TV specials on Santa Claus and his gift giving. Good little boys and girls get the presents they want, which forces parents to act like marauding Philistines in the aisles of Walmart, hoping to snag the last Tickle-Me plush or whorish symbol Barbie, lest their children feel unloved by Santa and Jesus – that is if Jesus even comes into the conscious thought of Christmas anymore.

How did we come to this? Some will blame Madison Avenue advertising and the retailers who need to make big bucks this season. Maybe, but who empowers them? In the days of “Mad Men,” Jews weren’t allowed to work in advertising, so, instead of a devious plot on the part of the Elders of Zion or the Rothchilds, it was Christians who drove the perversion of the holiest day of the year. Do churches speak out against the commercialism of the holiday?

I’ve been to many church Christmas services and while I haven’t burst into flames when I walked through the doors, I also haven’t heard a lot of speaking against the folly of possessions on the day chosen to honor the birth of Christ. I also haven’t noticed a standing room only crowd. So why doesn’t it escape me that the messiah of Christendom, the one who died for Earthly sins, God’s only son would be embarrassed by this commercialism when peace on Earth, goodwill and love for each other is all he ever asked of mankind?

“Show her you lover her, with a diamond,” touts one store TV ad. Can one not show love without a blood-soaked stone mined by slaves? Are children just as “good” even if they don’t get a toy they will tire of by the New Year? It sounds cruel and anxiety-filled for what should be a time of immense joy, inflection and gratitude.

We Jews have our own shame at this time of year. Hanukkah, which is a celebration, not a holiday, has also been perverted from the miracle of the temple oil and triumph of oppression to a mirror of Christmas greed. Eight presents on eight nights is a bribe to Jewish children who are also bombarded by the message of Santa and presents.

Saying “Happy Holidays!” is just ridiculous. Say “Merry Christmas!” to those you pass on the street. I certainly won’t mind because a stranger being pleasant and friendly with charity and compassion is what Christmas and Hanukkah is all about.

It’s funny how people don’t camp out for two days, awaiting a rush to give charity to those in need. Celebrate peace and joy, because that’s what the young, rebellious and wise rabbi from Nazareth would want, aside from us buying food for the hungry and clothing for the cold and poor.

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