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Partying with Baby Jesus

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Hi everyone, I've been asked by a number of people whether I celebrate Christmas. Well, of course I do. I celebrate every day I'm alive, quite frankly, and I find I'm particularly alive at Christmas. So if your Christmas is anything like mine it will probably be a traditional family occasion of gluttony, drunkenness, long-held resentments bubbling to the surface, and fistfights over the dinner table. We usually book the ambulance for about six o'clock. No, not really. Christmas is a time of peace and goodwill, everybody knows that. And it's also a time to celebrate the miraculous birth of little Baby Jesus. One thing Christmas has always done for me, it always reminds me that there are actually two separate versions of Jesus. The adult version, obviously, with the beard and sandals who was murdered by the Jews, and Baby Jesus. I've never connected those in my mind as being the same person. They've always been completely separate entities to me. I never look at Baby Jesus in the crib and think: "Ah yes, I can see the resemblance." It wouldn't even occur to me. Although it probably will now. We actually have a little model nativity scene in our house this Christmas, as we do every Christmas. Ostensibly for the children, but really it's for everyone, because Christmas is for everyone. Why do we have it? For the same reason that we have a Christmas tree and fairy lights and tinsel and crackers and paper hats - because it's fun. To me, the Christmas story has always been a charming folk tale. I've never really connected it with religion, in the sense that I've never associated it with sin or guilt or burning in eternal hellfire, which means I'm usually in a pretty good mood, and ready to celebrate. But that doesn't mean I actually believe the story is true, any more than somebody who celebrates Halloween believes that witches really fly around on broomsticks. But it doesn't stop them from having fun with the idea. Christmas was a folk festival long before Christianity ever got hold of it, and it will be long after Christianity's bony fingers have been prised off it, because newsflash for Christians: Nailing your deity's name to a festival doesn't make it yours, I'm afraid. It's still all about the solstice, it's all about the rebirth of the sun. No, not the son of God, the regular sun. It's a celebration of the life force, something which Christianity wouldn't really know very much about, because the only thing it celebrates is death. All the supposed benefits of Christianity accrue after death, not before. Life is a penance to be endured, not lived, unless you're a televangelist with a million dollar mansion and a couple of Cadillacs, or a senior clergyman who happens to live in a palace, or two. But the actual Nativity scene itself is an iconic scene which is instantly recognisable. A baby born in a stable, that can only mean one thing. You never look at that scene and think to yourself: "I wonder if that's Baby Jesus there, or one of the many other babies known for being born in stables." But it might not be a bad idea once in a while, because the Christmas story is by no means exclusive to Jesus. It was told and retold many times over the centuries long before Jesus was ever even thought of. To the ancient Egyptians, Isis was the mother of God, and each midwinter they depicted her in a stable, nursing a child that she had, guess what, miraculously conceived. And all this a couple of thousand years before Jesus. But there's no reason for that to spoil the party, because it's a folk tale, and they're meant to be re-used and retold. It's all part of the magic. And Christmas is a time for magic, and that's why, even though I don't believe in Santa Claus, I would never tell a child that there's no Santa Claus. If I was going to tell them the blunt truth about anything, I'd probably tell them that there's no Jesus. Or, if there is, his image rights have been hijacked by the forces of evil and he now works directly for Satan, doing his best to keep us fearful and ignorant, making us feel less worthy than we really are, and emotionally crippling us with guilt for crimes that we had nothing to do with. Doesn't that sound like the work of Satan? Not that I really believe in Satan, by the way, I should emphasise that, but then we all know that you don't actually have to believe in a thing for it to be part of your life whether you like it or not, so in that sense I know he exists, and I also know that the holy scriptures will back me up on that, which gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling all over. And isn't that really what Christmas is all about? Well, that's enough from me. I want to wish everybody a merry Christmas, of course. And I want to wish you what I wish for myself, which is of course peace, and may all your Christmases be godless and free.

Video Details

Duration: 4 minutes and 49 seconds
Country: UK
Language: English
Director: Pat Condell
Views: 17,478
Posted by: patcondell on Dec 24, 2007

It's that time of year again.
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