Putting the X into Xmas

Triumph of Christianity. Sala di Costantino, Vatican Palace, by Tommaso Laureti (1530-1602)I do think our would-be religious leaders sound a little more shrill each year as they desperately attempt to put the Christ into Christmas: Pope thinks it’s ‘Crass-Mass’, apparently. Not believing never stopped me partying, and centuries after Tommaso Laureti painted this image of Christ toppling and smashing a pagan god, we’re still constantly reminded that Christmas is when it is because of the pagans.

Artistically, this image is no more impressive in-situ at the Vatican than it is here. But it’s greatly symbolic. Wikipedia uses it to illustrate the Dark Ages, connecting the rise of Christianity with a retreat from reason. It illustrates an aggressive Christianity at the height of its powers, confident it’s the one true faith and determined to crush all others. No wishy-washy pragmatic tolerance here.

Yet each year, we seem to move a little closer to the pagan concept of Yule: a big party to make the worst of the winter tolerable. And despite all the black propaganda, I think that’s a good thing. And wasn’t this the best nativity scene ever?
Baton down the hatches… it’s Black Friday!

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