What’s the meaning of Christmas?

Possum asks Dr. Sharpie about the meaning of Christmas. Then Possum asks some of his other housemates, and Muds finally helps him find the meaning of Christmas.

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As usual, full text is below the fold.

Possum: Hey Sharpie, I’ve been thinking about Christmas.

Sharpie: Mmm?

Possum: I like the Christmas story and everything. But what’s the meaning of Christmas?

Sharpie: Oh. Christmas is a thin veneer of Christian theology, overlaid on a variety of myths, stories, legends, and images from a diversity of cultures, ranging from the Western Asia to northeastern Africa to Europe, most of them of great beauty.

Possum: I don’t understand what you just said.

Sharpie: Christmas is an aesthetic experience. Rejoice in its beauty.

Possum: Nanas, what’s the meaning of Christmas?

Nanas: Toys!

Possum: Toys?

Nanas: Toys are good! Hold fast to what is good!

Possum: Rolf, what’s the meaning of Christmas?

Rolf: It’s about how important animals are.

Possum: Um, what do you mean?

Rolf: Well, if it weren’t for the animals and the stable, Mary wouldn’t have had a place to have her baby. So Christmas says we should honor all beings.

Possum: Belinda, what’s the meaning of Christmas?

Belinda: Baa! Baa! Baa!

Possum: OK, so you sheep calmed down the shepherds when the angels scared them….

Belinda: Baa! Baa!

Possum: Oh, I see! For sheep, Christmas is about strengthening the faint-hearted.

Possum: Muds, I’ve been asking about the meaning of Christmas. But everyone in our house keeps saying lines from the unison benediction of our UU church instead of telling me the meaning of Christmas.

Muds: Well, we’re all Unitarian Universalists, so we understand Christmas from a Unitarian Universalist point of view. That’s why they’re saying lines from our unison benediction.

Possum: I see! So — Christmas can have any meaning I want?

Muds: No. You start with the Christmas story, think what it might mean to you, then listen to what other people have to say about it. You see, you have to figure out the meaning of Christmas in a community.

Possum: Oh… Well, if Christmas happens in community like our house, our house is all about love, so for me Christmas is all about love!

Muds: I agree.

Unison benediction

The unison benediction that Possum is talking about is the one used by the UU Church of Palo Alto. For reference, here it is:

Go out into the world in peace
Be of good courage
Hold fast to what is good
Return no one evil for evil
Strengthen the faint-hearted
Support the weak
Help the suffering
Rejoice in beauty
Speak love with word and deed
Honor all beings.