And so this was Christmas, a fine event if there ever was one. A virgin, impregnated by the power of God (who'll apparently go to great lengths to avoid the "birds and the bees" conversation), rides into the overcrowded town with her newly-shotgun-wed husband to pay their taxes, when, after weeks on the back of some poor burro, the thirteen-year-old miraculously pops out her first baby in a spray of blessed afterbirth and only the most pious amounts of pain. And so, to commemorate the occasion of this supposed anniversary (the birth certificate got lost in the mail somewhere), we fret over buying one another just the right thing, the thing that will prove that we love them forever (until Mothers' Day or their birthday or Valentine's Day); we pretend for a few hours to care about the poor, cold, sick, and downtrodden, the huddled masses (as long as we can also pretend that they are all so adorable as Tiny Tim or as poignant as The Little Match Girl); and we play obnoxious nonsense songs the meaning of which few understand (leave belief out; no true beliefs can be built on ignorance).
I'm not trying to be glib or flippant about Jesus' birth. I guess I just have a hard time looking at religion without looking at the bare bones of it. I think rationality is something applied to religious beliefs far too little, both in the beliefs themselves and in the practices which accompany them. It's not what I set out to write about tonight, but I thought Christ's Mass deserved to be noted before it slipped away, and this is what came out. I suppose that it's the product of a rage that's been building for some time now. That anyone can profess to follow in the footsteps of the Lamb of God, The Prince of Peace, that great forgiver of all sins and lover of all sinners, and yet deem someone - anyone - unworthy of HIS love - oh, my friends, I become very upset. My minority, non-Christian friends lie back and take it, even expect it. I know, though, that the baby that shivered in the night those many years ago didn't care if the arms holding him were gay or Jewish or even if they belonged to the Pope himself.
What mattered was love.