Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Dribs and Drabs

A bit of this and that for this cold and wet Wednesday.

I don't think I've ever been at the Home Depot in the middle of the week, in the morning, before. It was a different world from the land of Saturday family shoppers. I think I was the only woman shopping the place. And I think I was maybe also the only one who doesn't do something necessitating much Home Depot shopping for a living. Incidentally. I was also making what was likely the smallest purchase - with 2 dowelings at about $.87 each.

No Frills on the other hand, was a very mixed gender space this morning. Likely I was again making one of the smallest purchases with milk and bananas making up the sum total. Incidentally, I was surpised to see just how many of the more luxurious goods from the PC Insider's Report No Frills is carrying this year. The name seems to be becoming somewhat oxymoronic.

In our religion free public spaces, at this time of year, why is it ok to have a Christmas tree, but not a Menora or other traditionally Jewish symbol? The Christmas tree is a Christian traditional symbol, even if you call it a festive shrub or a holiday bush. It is a symbol of the Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You can secularize it to an extent, but the fact remains that everyone knows it is a Christmas tree. So why? Why is it ok to have those in public spaces, but not symbols of other faiths? And why is it ok to pretend that this symbol is not what it actually is?

On a similar note. How excited am I that my workplace's staff lunch this December is called a "Seasonal Celebration"!?! How perfectly ridiculous! I love it.

This evening I had to scrape white stuff off the car. Heavy white stuff. It was on my windows. It was actually staying. Why must the white stuff fall? Why can't it just be there to look picturesque?

Only 16 more days until The Golden Compass premiers in theatres!!! I totally wish I had time for a reread first. Have a look at the trailer. It looks amazing!


False Prophet said...

I have no idea how you're equating a Christmas tree with the trinity. I've never heard that theory before.

Far as I know, they're an obscure pagan custom some Germans revived in the Renaissance for Christmas, and blown completely out of proportion by the explosion of commercial exploitation of the holiday back in the mid-19th century. I can't think of a more secular symbol for Christmas, except maybe a "Holiday Sale" sign.

MadJenny said...

Meanwhile, I have no idea why you think that something you've "never heard before" must be false.

Legend has it that in what is now Germany, in the 7th century (or early 8th century? He spanned the two) St. Boniface came upon a group who were sacrificing two innocents to their god - who was represented by the evergreen. This is where the pagan use of the tree comes in, as the time was the winter solstice, and the sacrifice was part of the celebration, or ceremony. St. Boniface immediately cut down the tree and another sprang from the ground in its place. Boniface spoke to the group, in an effort to convert them, using the new tree as a symbol of the new life of the Christ, and equating its triangular shape to the Trinity.

In the way of things, as the followers of the Pagan faith that had worshiped the tree as a representation of their god began to celebrate the Christian festival at the same time of year, the tree was co-opted by the Christians. The idea that the triangle shape represents the Trinity has carried down through the ages.

By about the 14th Century the Christmas tree was used commonly throughout the area - in that trees, both indoors and out, were decorated. However, a further legend states that it was not until Martin Luther was walking home one starry night, and admired the stars gleaming on one of these decorated trees that the Christmas trees began to be lit.

Further symbology states that the tree represents Christ as the risen lord because it is first felled and then it rises again when it is decorated indoors.

While current custom does have this tree as a secular symbol of an increasingly secular holiday, and while the decoration of a tree at this time of year pre-dates its Christianizing, the fact remains that this tree is a Christmas Tree. Christmas, no matter how many non-religious people celebrate it, is a Christian holiday. That was my point.

If you want to state otherwise, perhaps you can do some research, and post a note on your own blog.

ru said...

to be fair to our employer (though heaven knows they don't deserve it - this year's party is called a "seasonal celebration" because the powers that be were afraid to call is a "staff appreciation luncheon," being (rightfully) concerned that the generally underappreciated (and knowing it) staff would not be inclined to attend. AND, the christmas/chanukah/kinda-late-diwali/does-anyone-here-celebrate-kwaanzaa lunch was too long to fit on the invitation!

ru said...

well, you can tell i haven't typed in nearly a week! point made, though. the baby is being quiet - how worrisome. i gotta run!

MadJenny said...

I kind of like: "christmas/chanukah/kinda-late-diwali/
does-anyone-here-celebrate-kwanzaa lunch"

But ya. It is hard to come up with a politically correct name for a lunch that happens at a particular time of year, for a particular reason, when you can't claim there is a different reason.

Maybe we should just call it Festivus - the Festivus for the rest of us - where you get to air your grievances. That would be one hell of a staff seasonal celebration!