Here we are another holiday season again. Something I am sorry to say I personally do not enjoy as neither Christmas, Chanukah, or Kwanzaa have any meaning to me. I celebrate none of them and, unfortunately, do not look forward at all to this time of year. And by the way, what the heck ever happened to Kwanzaa, do people still celebrate it? I have not heard anything about it in years.
I know for most people there is a deep religious significance to the holidays, but being a devout agnostic, they don’t mean anything to me. Unfortunately, I am not a believer in the Bible, the Torah, the Koran, or any other such religious writings.
Yes, there are some excellent and insightful teachings like the ten commandments, and, I have to admit, I may have coveted a neighbor’s wife or two, but I can assure you I never coveted a male neighbor’s ass.
Now it isn’t that I don’t like holiday lights and decorations, there are some I really do enjoy, however, I do find many to be overly garish, and although I did sing in the Annapolis glee club, regrettably, I have grown to despise Christmas carols, especially when they start up right after Thanksgiving. As soon as I hear that first Christmas carol on the radio, I turn it off until after New Year’s.
I was raised in a Jewish household, but even early on, I didn’t believe the Sunday school stories or what the rabbis were preaching. It just didn’t then or even more now make any common sense to me as I totally failed to see, with all the barbaric, inhumane crimes that had been committed and all the wars that had happened or were still going on, how this God they kept wanted me to pray to was in any way caring or the least bit benevolent.
As to why I never believed in Heaven or for that matter Hell, I suppose I thought Heaven was nothing more than just wishful thinking, and as to hell, I gave that the same credence as the stories of the Boogey Man.
But back to our topic, the Holidays. First, since my family was Jewish, what about Chanukah, which celebrates when the oil in the temple’s eternal flame lasted eight days rather than only a single day. I am sure if that story is at all true, which I doubt, the reason the oil lasted eight days was that someone was smart enough to turn down the wick. I guess if you wanted to insist it was God’s work, you could say the Rabbis were not smart enough to figure it out for themselves, so God had to tell them to turn down the wick.
As to Christmas, you have to get past a lot of hurdles to believe that one. Firstly you have to get past the central tenet of Christmas the virgin birth. I have to be careful what I say about that one because as deep of misgivings I may personally have on that, it might actually be possible. I remember my wife telling me that a few of the teenage daughters of her clients, while she was a social worker in Florida, had also made that same claim to their parents and, like Mary, why would they ever lie?
But let’s get to the good part, Santa Klaus. Even as a very young child, I found that story ridiculously implausible, and I could not understand why so many of my friends actually believed he existed.
In the house I grew up in back in Indianapolis, we had two fireplaces, and I remember as a young kid staring up inside both of them and realizing there was no way in hell a fat man could get down through there, especially while carrying a bag of gifts and somehow even keeping clean while doing it. But what about the houses that didn’t have fireplaces? What did Santa do? Did the people who lived there have to leave their doors or windows unlocked? And what if everything was locked up tight and the kids inside had been good all year? Did Santa just break in? I didn’t remember hearing any stories of police reports about that.
But the concepts that puzzled me the most about Santa Klaus had to do with logistics and physics. Yes, I didn’t know what those meant back then, but I did comprehend the issues involved. Like, how many houses would Santa have to visit in one night, it had to be billions, and how many trips back and forth to the North Pole would he have to make? Surely a sleigh could not carry that many gifts at one time. Did he have hidden warehouses around the world in some places, and — where were they? Maybe he is a silent partner in Amazon?
And then we get to the big problem, Santa Klaus’s flying through the air. I remember my older brother and I pondering this issue, and in our naivety, we agreed there must be a way to offset gravity, maybe an electrical beam or something like that Santa could turn on and off, but what about propulsion? How do those eight tiny reindeer make the sleigh move forward as everyone knows you can’t get any real traction in the air.
The only thing we could come up with was that it must have been accomplished by extreme flatulence. Yes, a continual outpouring of gas by the reindeer powerful enough to propel the sleigh swiftly forward. And, if that was the secret, then how did Santa provide the reindeer enough beans to sustain such an intense and continual discharge? How many cans of beans can he possibly carry in the sleigh and still have room for gifts, and how many would he need?
That turned out to be totally perplexing for us as we had no idea how much gas one bean generated, and even if we did, how many beans are there in one can? From that we then got into a more troubling issue, how could Santa possibly survive sitting directly behind such a forceful expulsion of foul-smelling gas, not only survive but even keep on smiling? I never saw any pictures of him where he was wearing a gas mask? Have any of you?
But then we have the real clincher, as surely during the night at least one of the reindeer most likely would have to take a poop, and here is Santa sitting directly behind and not even wearing a face mask or protective gear. At the tremendous speed, he would have to be traveling, a good size turd striking him would like a meteor and totally obliterate him in a blinding flash of light. And – maybe that was the origin of the star over Bethlehem?