Since it’s Christmas Eve, I’m thinking today is as good a day as any to talk about the birth of Jesus and its implications for Christian believers in America today.
My family were never really church-going folk, but I’ve read the Bible backward and forward about a million times so I feel in that regard I’m probably ahead of most Christians in America today. On those odd occasions when we did go to meetin’ we went to a Lutheran church, as any good German family would. Lutherans are great because they believe that no matter how big of an asshole you are, you’re all but guaranteed to end up in heaven when you die. So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.
As kids my siblings and I particularly enjoyed going to church on Christmas Eve, because during the service they passed out candles for the parishioners to torch up and then turned all the lights off which was pretty trippy when you’re like 8 years old and dumb as fuck. Once we got a bit older we more or less gave up completely on the rare times we actually did go to church, and those candlelit Christmas services are distant memories now. One thing I do remember vividly though is on Christmas Eve in 1977 the pastor made his sermon all about how Darth Vader is the devil and Luke Skywalker is Jesus. I kid you not, that’s how popular Star Wars was back in the day…
Anyway, I suspect Americans of all backgrounds and faiths are at least marginally familiar with the biblical accounts of the first Christmas, which of course loom large in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. The second chapter of the Gospel of Luke contains what is arguably the most popular account of Jesus’ birth, which a lot of folks probably know not because they’re particularly devout but because they remember it from A Charlie Brown Christmas, the legendary ode to middle class American life in the form of an animated TV special from 1965 in which an oddly precocious boy named Linus van Pelt recites from Luke 2 when he drops the science on his clinically depressed homeboy Charlie Brown in order to explain the true meaning of Christmas.
For those who don’t read the Bible (or are monsters and have never seen the utterly wonderful A Charlie Brown Christmas), Luke 2 from the King James Version goes a little something like this:
A Charlie Brown Christmas just goes to show you that the “War on Christmas” has been a thing since at least 1965, when the Peanuts gang took on the commercialism of the holiday. That was over 50 years ago, and Christmas is still right here, contrary to what the hate-fueled propagandists and doomsayers at Fox News would have you believe. In fact, if there’s any “War on Christmas” it’s being waged by the people who claim the deepest bond with Jesus yet go against his teachings every chance they get.
Today, as Idiot America gloats about putting a fascist like Donald Trump in the White House, I would ask all the conservatives out there (who claim so vehemently to abide by the Bible and the teachings of Christ) if the bigotry, intolerance, misogyny, xenophobia, militarism, bloodlust and ignorance you take such pride in every day are consistent with what’s written in Luke 2?
And I don’t ask that in a rhetorical sense, I mean it quite literally. Do you actually believe in peace on Earth and good will toward men, or is that just a lie you tell one day of the year in late December before you go back to your relentless ignorance and hatred? Clearly you don’t, since these days Christianity in right-wing America seems largely to be about thwarting peace on Earth – warmongering, xenophobia, religious intolerance, deification of the military, imperialist foreign policy – and expanding the list of people you feel absolutely no good will toward – Muslims, LGBT, liberals, feminists, minorities…
I would urge my conservative friends to take a moment to ponder that before you ruin another Christmas dinner by crowing about how awesome you think a piece of shit like Donald Trump is and by pissing and moaning about how much you hate Islam, refugees, the poor, minorities, Obama, America, and the world. Who knows, maybe if you’ve truly been good this year a friend like Linus will bitch slap you with the true meaning of Christmas and for once you’ll shut your goddamn pie hole and really think about peace on Earth and good will toward men.
That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.