According to Google Ngram Viewer¹, in 2008 the word Christmas² reached a whopping 150-year high in written text, with 4 of every million written words being Christmas.
Yet in the USA, our early-ingrained ritual of sitting on Santa’s lap in these little gingerbread huts (which are clearly “materialistic confessionals”) shows that Christmas has become its own separate religious system, ostensibly opposed to classical Christianity.³
We Americans are raised on a steady diet of commercialism, and Christmas is become Materialism’s High Holyday. Time was, Nativity (“Christmas”, 25 December) was the third most important Christian holyday, after Pascha (“Easter”, calculated identically with Judaic Passover) and Theophany (“Epiphany”, 6 January)! Hence, the Twelve Days of Christmas⁴ were actually the twelve days from Christmas Day (25 December) to Epiphany (6 January), and prior to the Christmas Eve Vigil⁵, Advent⁶ was the only show in town. Moreover, the early part of Advent is actually not at all concerned with Christ’s First Coming as an infant but rather with his Second Coming as All-Judge or Pantocrator⁷!
In the West, since they changed Theophany (Christ’s Baptism by John in the Jordan) to Epiphany (Visit of the “Magi” or Zoroastrian Magicians⁸), they also attempted to appease honor⁹ by making early Advent also about John the Baptist, who in the Ancient and Eastern Christian churches is far more important than Joseph because of course John was far more perceptive of Christ’s hidden divine identity!
Incidentally, Evangelicalism is one of the newest forms of Christianity, and it treats the Bible much the way Muslims treat the Qur’an—i.e. literalistically—which of course explains the very similar proselytizing approach displayed by both groups. Gnostic and other esoteric persons, by contrast, realize that their experience is their own, that their job is to edify rather than troll. Not a one of the ancient churches (which are as varied as breeds of dogs anyway) believe the Bible to be literally inerrant, let alone infallible. (“Spirit and life” is about as far from “chapter and verse” as you can get.) Biblical literalism is an extremely Western/Anglophonic hermeneutic within Christianity, and it follows quite prodigiously the example of Muslim Moors. As if the dogmatism of Rome wasn’t spiritually stunting and socially dysfunctional enough, these quite Western European Neo-Lutherans reinterpret Scripture anachronistically, using a modern scientific paradigm and a militantly dogmatic ideology, which are at sharp odds with nearly all of the Christian patrimony, not to mention with what the Bible actually says. (!) As a for instance, the “Sinner’s Prayer”, one of the staples of the aptly named Billy Graham “Crusades”, and this completely twentieth-century notion of accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior (Ta-da!) are, speaking honestly, as modern as they are specious and shallow.
As Larken Rose aptly proclaimed, statism is a religionism/churchianity, and contrariwise religionism is a product of statism. And both abhor history. Many Christians today (Zionists) just want Jesus to return, bring the world to heel, and maybe get them out of here, so they don’t have to suffer life’s tribulations or even worse ponder the deeper mysteries or simply follow the Great Commandment that is Empathy, the virtue that time forgot and that ironically finds no home in zealous Christians who are too busy “evangelizing” (with an eye to escaping pain) to actually listen to their neighbor’s experiences, thoughts and pains! Even supposing God revealed all the books contained in the Bible, he did so millennia ago to folks long dead. And nowhere in the books Constantine called “Bible” does it say that God had switched off the microphone, that revelation was somehow finished, that we’d just have to wait out the rest of history, while inching toward the closest exits. Orthodox Christians, who are one branch of the Ancient Church, emphatically do not hold the Bible (in which they include more books than anyone else does) as being either inerrant, linearly self-interpreting or the “last word”. The Church of Constantinople pushed hard against including The Apocalypse of John (or what Protestants call “Revelations”) in the Bible, and the Church of Rome pushed against including Hebrews—but both sides compromised. The bottom line is this: The consistent anarchist, if he’s a Christian at all, is a Gnostic Christian, because Gnostic Christianity is uncompromisingly Free Christianity and refuses to even start down the path that ends in materialism, in denying the spirit, and in committing along the way the totally un-Christian and therefore unfogivable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which is also called Modernism, and which guarantees a soul passage into utter darkness.
² Other feasts in the Church Calendar ending in -mas include Candlemas (Presentation or Groundhog Day, 2 February) and Michaelmas (Feast of St. Michael [and other angels], 29 September).
³ This is similar to how we have Zionism sort of gnawing away at Christianity as well with its rampant usury and nationalism. We are, as a culture, burning a candle at both ends! Question Israel and see how far you get with Churchy Christians these days, even though no one would have batted an eye before the 60s, and it’s all due to the Scofield Study Bible and the Parushim Society.
⁴ Since the 90s, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” has apparently falsely been rumored to have been a coded catechism (supposedly after the pattern of other singsong nursery rhymes of England that did indeed tell of royal and top-level conspiracies), but given the lack of difference between the faiths taught respectively by the Pope of Rome and the King of England, this doesn’t seem likely, as it would have involved a rather labored futility when taken in historical context.
⁵ In Spanish, “Nochebuena”.
⁶ “O Come Emmanuel” was never a “Christmas Carol” but a key Advent hymn—with gnostic subtexts.
⁷ As in the earliest surviving icons.
⁸ The three Magi are often erroneously portrayed as some kind of rag-tag international band of kings, which makes no historical sense whatsoever. In truth they were Persian astrologers and followers of Zoroaster (Zarathustra), who is often considered the founder of monotheistic religion as we know it.
⁹ Also, it seems that since by 1955 the Epiphany had really become about the Magi and nothing else, Pope Pius XII abolished the Octave of the Epiphany and instead made 13 January the Commemoration of the Baptism of Our Lord.