Christmas Eve in Arizona means Mexican food.
My family is so gringo that we came over on the Mayflower. Doesn’t matter.
Christmas Eve in Arizona means Mexican food.
I have a killer Mexican accent, so people sometimes ask me if I make tamales. But tamales are a lot of work. So I tell them that, instead, I make friends who make tamales.
That joke usually gets laughs, but to tell it right, you have to pronounce tamales right.
The secret here to not sounding like a gringo is to include a breathy “h” in the first syllable. I know there is no “h” in tamales when it is written out, but (trust me), it’s there when you pronounce it correctly.
Mexicans who have hope for you as la amiga por La Raza will correct you. Trust me.
So, Christmas Eve. My mom made pozole and chili relleno casserole. My younger brother brought chimichangas and fixings from Some Burros. A former employee of my dad’s (who thinks my daughter is named after her and I just let it slide because why not?) sent us some of her red chile tamales that you have to open up and check the green olives first, because sometimes they have pits. And I made my family- famous green salad with tortilla strips and cream-corn vinaigrette.
Cilantro was served on the side, because my younger brother is one of those people (Julia Child included) who thinks cilantro tastes like soap.
I also made apricot jellies from a South African recipe. Because si, como no?
My recipe doesn’t include salt like some recipes, just apricots and water and sugar.
I also only cook the purée to the soft-ball stage and let the jellies sit for a couple days to form. When done right, they nearly melt in your mouth and leave you will a warm sense of having eaten something reasonably healthy on a day full of excess, bad logic and sloth.
Negative? Maybe. Realistic? Absolutely.
Enough of the warm-up. Now for the full onslaught onto traditional Christian theology.
Well, no. Because it made me who I am, in part.
Still, I don’t accept anything that can’t be proven over and over and over again, with documentation and peer review.
Anything else is just decoration and past-time. Maybe very stirring and emotionally uplifting decoration and past-time, but not the real work of the evolution of our species.
I think this song sums it up pretty well. Although it goes on waaaaaay too long.
So, no, Jesus is not the reason for the season. The spinning and tilting of the Earth on its 365.25 day journey around the Sun is the reason for the season.
And Jesus is not the answer to anything. The answer is whatever the data says it is, and if the data changes, then that is the new answer. There is no eternal truth other than the eternal search for truth.
Which leads me back to the title of this post. If you “get freaked out by churches” and “have all of the usual objections” to organized religion, then you only have a couple options if you want to still celebrate the season.
And who doesn’t want to celebrate the season?
Christmas lights are beautiful, especially white ones done in a tasteful manner. Green for hope, white for peace, red for loss, gold for charity/karuna/compassion.
Option #1) Be a dick about it. But I have already stated my opinion on this, which is: don’t be a dick. Think of Bill Murray in Scrooged and don’t be that guy.
Option #2) Be a Pagan. As long as you’re not a dick about it (and, hey, don’t be a jerk on Christmas), you probably won’t be spotted for being any different than your neighbors, unless you flash the pentagram or Nordic runes. Because Christmas is hella pagan.
Christmas is so pagan, in fact, that it was illegal to celebrate the holiday in Puritanical America until…. wait for it… 1836.
Personally, I am not surprised my Mayflower ancestors banned Christmas back in the Plymouth days, but I was suprised to learn the prohibition on the holiday extended past so much of our history: past the Constitution, past the Louisiana Purchase, past the Battle of New Orleans, past the Trail of Tears, past the Missouri Compromise. Which places the open acceptance of Christmas in America just at the begininning of the Texas Revolution.
Many Americans don’t know their own history, but they do know the highlight reel that Hollywood has fed them, and it was during the Texas Revolution that The Battle of the Alamo happened, in February to March 1836.
So, just mull that over for a bit. BIG TIME HEROES Davy Crockett and James Bowie died in a battle to the last man the same year that it became legal in America to celebrate Christmas, because Christmas was seen as such a threat to Christian values, being as I said above: Christmas is hella pagan.
Option #3) Festivus for the Rest of Us. Always a good option with single friends. Still, like the show that inspired it, it’s kind of heartless.
Option #4) Be a Science Guy/Gal. Which is kind of like being a Pagan or a Christian if you are just going to be a dick about it, so don’t be a dick.
Instead, embrace your inner Spock. Who spins the dreidel with Captain Kirk IRL, BTW.
The added benefit with this approach is that Christmas Day is the birthday of Sir Isaac Newton (Julian calendar). Which is why Sheldon Cooper is such a fan.
Actually, Newton personal religious beliefs are the subject of as much speculation as is his sexuality. Personally, I think he was an I-don’t-care-ian as far as God, and that he was asexual for everything else.
Option #5) Be a I-don’t-care-ian with a dash of secular humanism and good manners.
This is the option I espouse.
Find someone in need and change their life, to the best of your ability.
Adopt a stray dog or cat FOR LIFE. No give-back.
Forgive your brother for being such a patriarchal butthead all the time. At least he has good taste in chimichangas.
And for garnish, decorate the day with whatever belief system you find compelling. Be it never-ending oil, community values, birth of a Son of God, or a pagan altar such as this.
Left to right, clockwise. Apricot jellies to represent plenty and comfort, plus celebration of my own personal skill in making something that I didn’t burn. Glass crown because I am all the Queens of Heaven. Inside the crown, a silver locket with filigree image of rose and kind words (written by MRME himself) to help my broken heart heal. Jar of sunflower petals harvested on June 21, the Summer Solistice, to represent the Wheel of the Year and how life goes on, even when we don’t want it to. Golden cup with cash, evergreen sprig and a pine cone to represent endless funds. Black book, a record of my dive down the rabbit hole last fall, because it’s important to document your own history. Yellow candle with marks on it as an advent item counting down from December 21 to December 25. Tomorrow, I will set another one for the Twelve Days of Christmas which actually start tonight and end on the Feast of Epiphany on January 6, or Little Christmas.
The white candle is just a basic candle purchased at Hobby Lobby.
The gold plate is the one I use for sun-based events like solistice and equinox and the beginning of the seasons. I also have a silver plate for moon-based events like full moon and new moon; and a red plate for Friday which is when I lay out a sex altar.
Yep, sex altar with a salt dough dildo. I’m not posting a picture of that. Ever.
Speaking of sex, or at least something on the distant edge of something that could become sex one day: I won second place in the company karaoke contest and there was mistletoe in the break room and Ron asked very politely if he could kiss me, so yeah…
I had my first kiss since October 30, 2017 a couple nights ago.
It was sweet. I’d forgotten how pointy mustaches are.
Don’t know if this thing will go anywhere.
For one thing, he’s Catholic. Like reading scripture for children at church events Catholic. I haven’t told him anything about my witchy ways.
It might be the make/break truth for the relationship. But, still, for now… it was nice.
No poem in this post, although I have new ones entitled blasphemy and murder.
As more poems take shape, and I revisit jettisoned ones, I am thinking that my next book of poetry will be called body and soul. I hope to have enough poetry published by Valentine’s Day to offer a hard-copy book for purchase.
In summation, I had a content and calm holiday that I could actually afford. I wish you the same, from the bottom of my heart. Parse that out as you wish.