Christmas is a weird time for heathens. I love the snow, yule tree and twinkly lights, after all. I’ve weaseled out of the meatier Christmas stuff in the past by opting for Solstice celebrations in my house and letting the kids do Christmas with their dad and his family. Those celebrations are largely secular anyway — the focus being on presents, Santa, feasting and making merry. Nothing wrong with that.
But this past year my son has become more and more aware of the world around him. He notices things in his environment and asks questions about them. We’ve also been reading more mythology together — mostly Greek and Native American myths. And perhaps my heart was softened a bit toward the whole Christian mythos by our study of Mary in the Goddess Mystery School this past summer. In any case, when we were in Target yesterday picking up a few more strands of lights and I saw this adorable little nativity set, I couldn’t resist. “Who is this supposed to be?” he asked. And decided then to explain Jesus to my son.
You know how we talked about different people around the world having different ideas about how the world began? Well there are a lot of people around here who are Christians and they believe that a god named Jehova, the Father God, created everything in the Universe.
And Jehova wanted people on earth to learn how to treat each other better, so he had a son named Jesus and gave him to parents on earth to be raised as a regular person. See, here’s the baby, and here are his human parents, Mary and Joseph. And Jesus was a superhuman guy, but also a person.
Sort of, except he wasn’t super strong. So when Jesus was born, in a barn in Bethlehem ((I had incorrectly wrote Jerusalem originally. Clearly I need to spend more time in Sunday School.)), angels, which are like people with wings, came down from the sky to check him out — so that’s who those people are in the set. And then there were three guys who were really smart and important — and they followed a big shiny star all the way to the barn and gave the baby gifts when they got there.
And then Santa came with gifts?
Uh, no. Santa is a figure that comes to us from Norse mythology and Dutch folklore — see, there was a God named Odin who rode through the sky during Yule celebrations on an eight-legged horse and gave gifts to his people. And then some Christian’s got involved and turned him into Saint Nick and then Santa… it’s all very confusing, isn’t it.
Yeah, this is why mama sticks to Solstice. Well, just know that Jesus was a man and god who taught people to love each other and Santa teaches us the importance of giving. And Christmas is a day we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Son of God, every year, just like on the Winter Solstice we celebrate the birth of the Sun (God).
So is the Sun God and the Son of God and the Sun God in Changing Woman the same?
That really depends on who you ask.
Ok. Can you do Easter next?
Sure, well, remember Jesus the baby? When he grew up, he was SO good at teaching people to be nice, mean people killed him. But then, since he was the son of a god, he came back to life. So on Easter, Christians celebrate Jesus coming back to life…
Wait. He came back to life as a bunny??
… Just… ask me again in the spring, okay?