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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Does Christmas have any point?

Dear friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: Does Christmas have any point?

Of course, by the time we meet on Sunday we would have had this year's
Christmas celebrations. So happy Christmas and hope you will have a good
rest.

It was difficult for me to write an essay on the subject but had enough
time to come up with a few ideas.

The first is that the fate of Christmas as a religious festival depends
very much on the fate of the religion. However, it is interesting to
note that in Spain and other southern European countries, e.g Italy and
Greece, Christmas is not a big religious event in society. In Spain as
we all know Easter is the big social religious event. By religious
social event I mean an event that society as a whole gathers to
celebrate a religious festival in public.

On the other hand, Christmas is the big religious social event in
Northern Europe. But then again we know enough about this winter
festival to appreciate that Christianity basically took over festivals
that existed before the formation of Christianity: these included winter
festivals in the north or the sun festivals of the Roman empire. There
is no reason to suppose that such a similar fate won't befall Christmas.

Maybe it has already happened, today Christmas represents about one
third of turnover for many businesses. In effect, Christmas is big
businesses; maybe this Christian festival today is in an advanced stage
of being morphed into a festival of that religion we call capitalism.

Of course, just because we flock to the shops a few weeks before the 25
th December does not make this a religious festival in public; at least
not in the present meaning of religious.

Some might cringe and shudder at the idea that a holy festival such as
Christmas is being replaced by a capitalist orgy. But before you enter
into a depression for the next few days think again. The only other
human activity that brings together so many nations and peoples and
creeds into a single meaningful purpose is a world war.

Maybe there is a point for Christmas after all. Whether in the guise of
religion or capitalism if we are too busy being happy and enjoying
ourselves with friends and family and being generally nice to each other
maybe we won't have enough time to wage war and do herm to each other.

If I am pressed on the subject I would say that maybe we don't have
enough Christmases in a year. I would hazard a guess that the ideal
number of Christmas in a year should be once every two months or so. I
don't think there is any fear of hitting the roof the law of diminishing
returns.

Of course, this would mean that Father Christmas would have to work
harder and maybe even give more meaningful gifts for a change. For
example, he could also leave a pile of cash when he visits us on
Christmas night; preferably not too close to fireplace.

Take care

Lawrence


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from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Does Christmas have
any point?

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