Anarchy and Christmas: No Gods! No Masters! Just a Baby in a Food Trough (Or…How Christmas is Witchcraft)

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SoLogically…”

In the scene above, the crew of Monty Python, riffing on the absurdity of witch “trials” of the past, comedically imbue the proceedings with “logic” and “reason.” But the humor stems from just how illogical their logic is. Their not emotionally brash, feeble minded people, just looking for a biblical “scapegoat” to burn, if for nothing but perhaps to pass the time, distract from the pain of present existence, and feel something like feeling alive…

No no. They’re analyzing, assessing, and handling the situation logically. They’re giving REASON to their “NEED” …to burn a witch.
Otherwise it’d be chaos…
Anarchy!

Well it’s Christmas. And for anyone that knows me, it’s my favorite time of year. It always serves to remind me of who I am, in a good way, connecting with aspects of myself that get forgotten through the year. I always feel like singing. And I always cry when I do. All of this, inevitably paired with flare ups of some pretty extreme anxiety.
I think that’s actually the true beauty of the season. It reveals.
Today is Winter Solstice, actually, and when I was a Montessori teacher, my means of inclusivity for celebrating this season was to say that the entirety of the holiday season was ultimately a celebration of light. No matter the belief, or holiday celebrated, ultimately what was being celebrated was light. Because light is almost sacred, especially in the darkest of darks, deep in the dark of winter. Because there’s beauty in light. Because light reveals. Much in the same way a refining fire purifies. For those that celebrate Christmas specifically, they celebrate the coming of the light of the world, into the world. In John Chapter 8, Jesus calls himself “the light of the world.”
Light reveals. Like fire burns. And refining fire purifies.

Ephesians 5:13
All things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.

Anything brought to the light BECOMES…light.

And I always find it fascinating the promises (or indicatives) just glossed over without any further thought. “When.” Not, “if.”
ALL THINGS become visible WHEN they are exposed by the light. Everything becomes light when it is exposed to the light. And “when” means that everything WILL be exposed to the light.
Wow, that sounds kinda like a magic spell. Some form of magic or witchcraft.

Kinda like turning water into wine at a party where everyone is already drunk.

Witchcraft

A magic spell, that doesn’t dispel darkness, nor destroy it. A magic spell that changes darkness into light.
Hey, can you imagine being a kid and having that magic at your disposal?
Oy. To anyone and everyone scared of the dark, this sort of magic has got to be some good news.

When I was younger, I was confused about a specific verse in the song, “G-d Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”

In Bethlehem, in Israel
This blessed Babe was born
And laid within a manger
Upon this blessed morn
*The which His Mother Mary
Did nothing take in scorn
Oh tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
Oh tidings of comfort and joy

See, I didn’t understand the English structure or meaning, so when I heard it, I heard it with the assumption they were calling Baby Jesus a witch. THE Witch.
In Bethlehem, in Israel
This blessed Babe was born
And laid within a manger
Upon this blessed morn
The WITCH, His Mother Mary
Did nothing take in scorn
Oh tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
Oh tidings of comfort and joy

Baby Jesus was a witch! A child of prophecy! Bringing tidings of comfort and joy…
And to my credit, the story isn’t THAT far off from what is often part of some story like that.

Good news of great joy. Tidings of comfort and joy “that will be for all people. (Greek: pas)” (Luke 2:10)
So was it good news of great joy? For all people? For literally EVERYONE?
And…is it?
IS Christmas “good news of great joy” for–and no exaggeration here–literally everyone?

What about Herod?

How’d Herod view Christmas and what it symbolizes? What about those like Herod? I mean, you shepherds, tending their flocks by night, what we would basically call backwoods poorfolk. More than just peasants. Hillbillies maybe. The lowest of the low. Bottom tier, on the social hierarchy. They get the proclamation from the heavenly host. Like a crazy LSD trip. And they go. Maybe because like the peasants in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, it reveals something more than the pain of present existence. And, given their life, anything more is a good thing. But what about those at the top? The kings. The businessman. The Herods.

Well according to the story, we KNOW how Herod responded.

Herod went on a witch hunt.

But…why?

Was it for the baby’s magic? The same reason Queen Bavmorda hunted down Elora Danan in Willow?

Fuck Yeah Willow — “Turned against me…”“This child will have no power over me.”

Same story we’ve heard over and over. Good news to EVERYONE! Except…the one (or many) who will be overthrown.

By a baby.
A weak easily killable thing.

Later in Willow, the main character tells his family, “Under no condition, whatsoever, is anyone in this family to fall in love with that baby!

Isn’t that witchcraft?
LOVE??
At least according to ol’ Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra, it is.

Those fingers in my hair
That sly come-hither stare
That strips my conscience bare
It’s witchcraft

Faith Hill sung a song about how a baby changes everything, and last year at this time, I talked about how that IS, indeed the case, and just what a baby causes you to face.

Both my kids fiddle with my hair. And there is just this look they both can give that beckons me over.
Like two little witches.

And their witchcraft DOES indeed, serve to strip my conscience bare.

Maybe there are just those that don’t like the idea of that. Maybe Herod just wasn’t ready to have his conscience stripped bare.

Or maybe it’s all about the loss of control. Specifically power. Herod was top tier.
And that good news of great joy for ALL PEOPLE, was bad news for non-peoples.
For those parts that don’t WANT to be all people. They want to be above all people. In some way or another.

What comes to mind when you hear the word, “anarchy”?

Lawlessness? The protests throughout this year? ACAB? Defund the Police?
The end of the suburbs?
An end to law and order? To civility? To decency?

anarcybgdc

Makes sense. Except lawlessness is barbarism. And anarchy isn’t barbarism.

Anarchy comes from the Greek for having no ruler, but really has more to do with being in opposition to archos—not merely a ruler, but someone above another. Basically, any “archy” is a hierarchy. And the preface “an” denotes being “anti” archy. Maybe not always AGAINST hierarchies of any kind, but perhaps simply being the OPPOSITE. Like an atheist doesn’t always denote being AGAINST theism, but just being the opposite of a theist, being NOT a theist.

Or like a king who chooses not to come in power, but the opposite of power. In weakness. Vulnerability. The lowest of the low. And invites US to care for the king like you would a helpless baby.
Witchcraft

You see, anarchy believes there is no justification to rule. That all rule comes out of force, not consent. And when you enter a RELATIONSHIP, well true love comes from consent, NOT force.
A baby doesn’t FORCE me to care for it. I give up myself to do so.
Like a spell or something cast over me.
Like some sort of…

WITCHCRAFT

Chesterton spoke heavily of the metaphor of Christmas in his book, “The Everlasting Man.
And in it, he refers to “The G-d in the Cave.”
He talks of how in that region, in those days, farmers and shepherds would more often take advantage of the caves in the surrounding region to shelter their livestock, than they were to build entirely new structures just for animals.
So Christmas is the story of the G-d most high, being born underground. Almost as if G-d was being smuggled in.
And in doing so, flipped the world upside-down. The G-d above all, was now below all.
The top, was now bottom. The first last, and the last first.

When I was younger, I used to believe in Christmas as G-d’s means of bringing order to a disordered world. A world CRAVING for order, and striving to create it anywhere it can.
(In fact, one of the only times the Bible mentions a vote is during the Easter story, when Pontius Pilate told the people to vote for which prisoner he was to free. And the people chose Barabbas. Barabbas literally means son of the Rabbi. Who interpreted the LAW. When faced with a choice between two Jesuses, between two SONS, the people chose “Law and Order.)

But as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that it’s the exact opposite. Christmas isn’t about bringing order to our disorder. But about bringing disorder to our order.

“…heaven above the earth, and hell under the earth. But in the riddle of Bethlehem, it was heaven that was under the earth.
There is in that alone the touch of a revolution, as of the world turned upside-down.
(Everlasting Man, pg. 173)

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3:28

In Jesus, the “Light of the world,” there are no separations. There are no “dividing walls of hostility.” Because everything becomes light when brought to the light.
I wonder what else there is neither of in Jesus.
Maybe something like “there’s neither secular nor religious, there is neither rich nor poor, there is neither radical left nor radical right, communist nor capitalist, gay nor straight, cis nor trans.”
Powerful nor weak.
Those above and those below.

Basically, it sounds like what Galatians 3:28 is getting at, is that “there are no means of establishing “archy” of any kind in Jesus. There are NO HIERARCHIES in light, because it’s all light and it’s all ONE.”

ANARCHY…

Christmas isn’t about order. Its about disorder.
To OUR ORDER.

It’s like taking something and blaspheming it.
Like a punk rock edition of silent night.
Or a band called “Bad Religion” singing O Come O Come Emmanuel.

Christmas is ANARCHY.

To our “archy.” Our hierarchies. Our rulers. Our rulings.
Our RULES.

Because LOVE is the ultimate anarchy.

Anarchy Is For Lovers

No force. Consent.

And that’s good news of great joy to all.

Just not to power. And not to you if you believe YOU ARE YOUR POWER.
What would you say gives you power? Your masculinity? Your femininity?
Your money? Your position? Who you vote for?
That you’re an American?
Your smarts? Your skills?

What if Christmas actually poses a threat to those things?
What if you started seeing Christmas as something that scared you?
Witchcraft! Anarchy!
Disorder! Chaos!
An upside-down world!

A baby, the light of the world, G-d, the G-d above, willingly taking a place BENEATH you? Below you?
Where YOU are above G-d? The King of Kings, weak. In need of your care. Of your love.
All that you believed and the order you formed your life around, suddenly flipped upside-down and sent into disarray.
Like riots. Or a virus. Or an election.

Like Witchcraft.
Like Anarchy.

How much like Herod are you? How much like Queen Bavmorda?
Does Christmas insult you?
Does Christmas threaten you?

This child will have no power over me.

Does Christmas SCARE you?
Does it scare you enough…

If heaven and hell switch places, those closest to heaven end up becoming those closest to hell.
I would imagine they’d like to make sure they maintain their position.
Their proximity to heaven.
But not at the expense of themselves.

Which is often what love calls for.

Love calls to us, at the expense of ourselves. And it calls us to surrender control. Surrender our lives.

Maybe that’s why we hate magic.
We’ve “got no defense for it
the heat is too intense for it
What good would common sense for it do?

I wonder if the real meaning of Christmas is an insult to our common sense. Our reason. Our logic.
And because of that, its as much witchcraft as that witch in Monty Python was, simply because of logic. And weighing the same as a duck.

Maybe the fire the burns in you around this time of year is a spell. Meant to burn away all that is not. Refine. However long and however many Christmases it may take.

When you arouse the need in me
My heart says “Yes, indeed” in me
“Proceed with what you’re leadin’ me to”

Nevertheless, not my will, but YOURS be done.
Proceed with what you’re leadin’ me to.

Become light. Let go of your order. Become love. Let go of your rule.
Embrace the Anarchy and the Witchcraft of Christmas…

What I think I’m saying is, surrender.
And in Jesus’ name, see what a little Anarchy and Witchcraft does to you, and for your spirit, this holiday season.
->and the world WILL be better for this…

Thanks to all my patrons, parishioners, and anonymous supporters for their encouragement and support in writing and publishing this piece:
Abel
Astrid
Caleb
David
Gabe
Jess
Jen
Kelly
Manis
Mathunna
Max
Trini

 

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Filed under Celebrating, Celebrations, Christmas, God stuff, Holiday

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