One of the nice things about being “of a certain age," in addition to being able to call impertinent functionaries "son," is that you’ve paid your social dues and can speak your own mind with a temerity not extended to younger people.
It is in this vein that I have taken an unnatural delight this year in wishing everyone “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Granted, Chanukah is now over, and if I had gotten my X-mas cards (foolin’ with you there!) out earlier I could have included it, but we still have Kwanza to go, and everyone celebrates the New Year, if only by deciding which promotional calendar to hang on the refrigerator that houses all the food that must be eaten before the ritual New Year’s diet can begin.
I think I’ve left a holiday out of my list. Ummmm … Yes! December 25! Birthday of Dionysus! No? How about Attis, the Phrygian God from Asia Minor? Mithra of Persia? None of these?
How about Jesus? Bingo!
Not too many Mithra cards for sale at the Hallmark store these days, but maybe there should be. The born of a virgin, welcomed by three wise men, died and then rose again story is not at all unique in the ancient middle east, but then neither is the flood story or the exodus story.
None of the competing stories are mentioned in the Bible for the same reason that the Mithra and Attis stories aren’t mentioned in any of the competing religious traditions. Not only is there unlikely to be “one true religion”; there aren’t even any original ones.
We hear a lot about the “War on Christmas,” but what about the rest of the religious figures who share this happy time of the year?
Happy Holidays, everyone!