Plato's Allegory of the Cave

My friend Amanda was showing this to me the other day. I was scared about a change in my life, and she told me about this... It really helps. Thoughts, anyone?

Christmas Wakeup Call!!!

“The festival of KALENDS is celebrated everywhere as far as the limits of Rome extend…Luxurious abundance is found in the houses of the rich, but also in the houses of the poor…The impulse to spend seizes everyone. He who erstwhile was accustomed to and preferred to live poorly now enjoys himself as much as his means will allow.” – Libanius, fourth century Greek scholar

Hmmm....you know, if I hadn't read the first line of this description, I would have guessed that this was an account of an American Christmas celebration...you know? The "spend, spend, spend" attitude, the overindulgence...Doesn't it sound a LOT like a description of the way we celebrate Christmas? Guess what? This is actually an account of a Roman holiday called Kalends, a pagan-centered new year celebration. At the end of the year, Romans would celebrate Saturnalia (a celebration of the god Saturn) and Kalends. Festivities would include exchanging gifts to ensure good fortune in the coming year (gifts would include small idols and food), feasting, and decorating with evergreen boughs, which symbolized the fertility of the crops in the coming year. In case you were wondering, yes, this is where we got the traditions of Christmas trees and exchanging gifts. No, it didn't come from some Nativity play (although they did use an evergreen tree as the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in a Medieval Nativity play). And no, the tradition of gift-giving did not originate from the gifts that the Magi brought to Jesus. No, you see, those are just excuses that have been made over the years. Unfortunately, our American Christmas celebration is made up of primarily pagan celebrations. In Parent's Magazine's Christmas Holiday Book, this observation is made, "In fact, we are unknowingly reverting to a primitive human instinct: the celebration of the turn of the year, when the winter begins to wane and the sun starts once more to climb in the sky, and when the crops and fruits are reborn. Almost every known civilization…has had such a festival, and all of them have celebrated with feasting and rejoicing.” Honestly girls, if you really think about it, our Christmas rejoicing is not a commemoration of Christ's birth...but rather, a self-centered, me-me-me, overindulgent, American-ized holiday.

That's just what you wanted to hear a few days before Christmas isn't it? You really wanted to learn that all of America's traditions have roots in pagan ones, didn't you? Do you feel guilty? Shocked? Or did you already know all this stuff? I don't want to ruin your Christmas. I'm not saying some components of our celebration are wrong. In fact, some of them are rooted in purely Christian traditions. But no, that is not my point by any means.

My point, ladies, is this- a celebration that is supposed to be a celebration of Christ has become utterly American-ized, just like everything else in our country. It's self-centered and gluttonous. We need to focus on CHRIST during the holiday season. HE is what our thoughts should be centered on- not what's waiting for us under the tree...or what you're going to wear to the holiday party on Saturday...or whether or not your friends and family will really appreciate the gifts you bought them. No. Christ was...IS...others-centered. He reached out in compassion to the needy, dirty little children in the street, the physically and mentally disabled, even those who were stricken with leprosy and had been deemed "untouchable". Christ loved the people that no one else loved.

Look back over the links I posted earlier about ways that you can give back. Think about how you can love those who are unlovable, unworthy, thankless...

I'll post more later.


Photo contest update:

Just a quick update on the photo contest- we only have 2 entries so far!!! You can't have a contest with only 2 entries! You have until the end of 2009 to submit your photos ladies! If this contest goes well, there could be prizes in the future. :)