Sunday, December 21, 2014

What is Christmas?

            I don’t know. It’s that simple.
            Sure, as a Christian I believe in the birth and resurrection of our savior. But, science tells us that December 25th, was not the actual date of the birth of Jesus. Science also tells us that two thousand and fourteen years ago, by the Gregorian calendar he was not executed. Yet every year on this upcoming, nay, looming date we celebrate the birth of our Christian savior. I have faithfully followed these learned acts for the forty-seven years I’ve been breathing. Only because it is what I was raised and taught to do.
            However, knowing our history, human history, and its bloody roots, I can honestly say, I’m not a fan of how things are working out.
            Some say that the advent of Hollywood and its inexhaustible tentacles of propaganda have tinged the holy day of Christianity and its savior. This is somewhat true. To me at least. Also, I understand that our dust speck of a world in the grand scheme of the universe hold nothing to the knowledge of things we don’t know.
            After all, as a man I wholeheartedly respect once said to me, “You, Skip, are a pragmatist with a golden heart. Regardless of what you portray to the masses.” I have to think in those terms. After all, he was right. I am a pragmatist. I take things as they come. If there is a problem and I have a solution. I fix the problem.
            Right now, I have a problem with no solution. I know science. I know religion. I know that in the epic tale of Gilgamesh, written a thousand years before the Holy Bible, there is a tale of a great flood and a man who built an ark. An ark that housed all the species of animals we know today. Save for those we have either hunted to extinction or have passed on through natural selection. I know that in my heart there has to be some sort of design for our existence and that design was not meant for all of us to struggle on a daily basis.
            Our ancestors, the ones who stood up and said “I will no longer move my family from one hunting ground to another but instead I shall lay down my spear and knife and plow the land and plant the crops we need. I shall practice husbandry of animals and only slaughter that which needs to be slaughtered in order to sustain us.” Men and women who started the first cities and civilizations… men and women with foresight that is respectable and admirable. The men and women whose shoulders we do not stand upon but their offspring’s shoulders we elevate ourselves upon. They are the ones we owe gratitude for.
            Yes, the solstice of winter is here. We are all huddled close to each other in the warm confines of our homes. Well, except me. I’m sitting on my porch, it’s 12:42 am and about 38 degrees outside. Yet I’m here. I’m not tired because my mind is racing with thoughts that contradict each other.
            Thoughts that tell me, there is a greater meaning to life than just paying bills and surviving in a world where money means everything and a world where thought and ideas are the currency of the day. Where fact, hard boiled proven fact, means more than a ghost story about some guy in the sky.
            I know, I’ve written about this sort of juxtaposition before. I can’t help it. It seems I’m not done with my own issues about life, science and belief yet. I wish I were. I wish I could jump into one arena or the other and say adamantly and at the top of my voice “THIS IS WHAT I BELIVE! LIKE IT OR NOT!” but I can’t.
            How can I? How can you?
            There is more unknown than known in the physical universe. I won’t even go into the metaphysical universe. So how can a Pollack like me stand on one side or the other and vehemently state a universal truth? I can’t. It’s that simple.
            I believe in mankind and our ability to adapt and overcome obstacles that have almost no outcome of success. Why? Simple, there is a history there. We, as homo sapiens, have overcome some amazing setbacks in our history. That’s recorded history not some fairy tale of vampires, werewolves and zombie history. Yet, there is an almost primordial call to how we survived. How mankind managed to overcome the obstacles it faced even before it knew of any type of religion or zealotry.
            How can this be?
            Are we simply programmed to procreate, survive and multiply at all costs?
            Or, are we a chosen species of life form who has manage with little or no direction to create and bastardize the teachings of those who came before us. Men and women who were wiser and more intelligent yet we still ignore their teachings? Teachings that would vault us far beyond what we believe we are and into another category of existence?
            I don’t know. I wish I did. For if I did, I wouldn’t be in this position.
            Nope, I’d know stuff. I’d be more at peace with myself and mayby, just maybe, I’d be able to sleep the slumber of the knowing. Instead, I’m in a certain, self-inflicted type of purgatory.
            Yes, I’m a believer in the overall master design and plan of the universe. But, no, I don’t believe we as a species have been able to narrow down into one cohesive dogma that will save our silly, corporeal lives.
            We all have to believe in something, religion, science, nihilism, and atheism. I’m sure there are many more “ISMS” out there. But for me, at this time of year, when men, women and children are in good spirits, try to be better than what they are during the course of the other eleven months of our rotation around the sun, I tend to believe the we all, no matter what creed or race are just trying to be the best that we can be.
            Which gets me wondering, what could mankind do if that was our goal every month of the year? Where exactly would we be if we could set aside any and all prejudices in a full revolution around the sun? What would be accomplished? What sense of peace would we all have? Where would the industrial war machine be? An exactly how tranquil would our daily lives be if we had nothing but good will broadcast across the airwaves?
            I would honestly believe we would be in a 21st century enlightenment era where all things were possible and our existence to our own personal creator would be honored.
            But that is just a pipe dream of a madman in Virginia. I hope and pray all of you, my dear readers are having a great week and that you find your own peace and tranquility in your life. I wish you nothing but the best for this season, whichever season you may celebrate, either religiously or intellectually.

            Have a great week.

            PS. The answer to my initial question… Family.

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