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A Modest Proposal: Let's Rename the Christmas Season The Winter Saturnalia A Modest Proposal: Let's Rename the Christmas Season The Winter Saturnalia
by Dr. Emanuel Paparella
2019-12-25 11:05:01
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Christmas carols, children playing and eating cookies, adults playing Christmas games and exchanging gifts around a chimney, Santa Claus traveling by sled from the North Pole to bring gifts, adults exchanging expensive and not so expensive gifts, angels singing, kings traveling via camels to come and visit an important arrival, lights and more lights galore. It’s a wonderful picturesque world vying with Walt Disney, for sure. How can anyone criticize it? Who is the kill-joy who would like to eliminate it, besides a Puritan? But there is a problem: it’s a misnomer.

papa01_400_01This world of relief from the dreariness and darkness of winter solstice has been around from time immemorial. It was a genial way of mitigating the darkness and dreariness with light and merriment and some alcohol, of course, to lubricate the festivities and add to the general merriment. The Romans  has a name for those festivities, they called them The Saturnalia.

I suppose today we call it “Christmas season” but could that be a misnomer? Why do people celebrate with worship, prayer and meditation, besides dancing and frolicking? Could there be a meaning to the whole celebration? Perhaps the meaning can be gathered by reading a very short passage from the passage of St. John, which is read to every Christian congregation on Christmas eve in every Christian Church.

It goes like this: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcomea it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John.  He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe.  He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.  Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us…” Now that was something that neither the Romans or any other people ever had the opportunity to celebrate.

So my modest proposal is this: let’s keep all the mythology and the fairy tales that go along with the Christmas story but let’s be honest about and not call those Christmas. It is just the repetition of the Roman Saturnalia. If we want a hint of what it would take for us to truly celebrate what we say we are celebrating, we would have to read slowly and reflect prayerfully on the above passage from the prologue of St. John Gospel.

As I said, just another opinion, and a modest proposal. In any case:

Have a Blessed Christmas Season whichever way you wish to interpret it


Check Dr Emanuel Paparella's BOOKS
"The Caligula Presidency: A Satirical Debunking Critique"
is online now and you can download it for FREE HERE!



Check also Dr Emanuel Paparella's other EBOOKS
Aesthetic Theories of Great Western Philosophers
& Europe Beyond the Euro
You can download them all for FREE HERE!

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