Goodbye, Jesus the neutral human Healer! You were level 30 when you died on the Plane of Earth.
But wait! The Shroud of Turin begins to glow!
Last weekend I went to a holiday party at the Silent Barn, a DIY art space on the border between Brooklyn and Queens. It was nuts. Over ten Christmas-themed bands played on five different stages, dressed as drunken Santas and 1920s orphans and sexy reindeer. There was a rainbow parachute, like the kind you run under in kindergarten, which served as an impromptu mosh pit as movie projectors flashed clips from Christmas TV specials across the side. There was a trio of elf girls shouting in a punk rock monotone about how badly they wanted to fuck Santa Claus. There was a tree on wheels, its lights flashing and oscillating to the music as college kids leapt onto it and slam-danced it across the room. There was a band that opened with the frontman exploding out of a strobe-lit Frosty the Snowman ornament, under which he had been hidden since the beginning of the show. Near the end a freestyling Santa Claus reached into a black trash bag and hurled plush monkeys and Thai calendars into the crowd. At the finale of his act he tore off the top of his costume to reveal a T-shirt emblazoned with the word GOD.
That was secular Christmas.
Yesterday I went to church. Because, you know. Under all the consumerism and the TV holiday special sentiment and the pagan tree rituals, Christmas is still an actual Christian religious holiday. An important one, no less. Even if the event it celebrates is a couple months off the mark, and largely obscured by a potpourri of secular traditions, it's still an occasion to reflect on the human birth of God. Not, as we do on every other Sunday of the year, on his life and works, or his miracles, or the gruesome sacrifice of his death, and the legacy of all that entails--but on the simple moment of his being born, just a little baby in the arms of his mother, unknown to anyone but his parents and a trio of shepherds as the son of God. It is the one day a year we dwell upon the humanity of God--the strange irony of the omnipresent creator of the universe being brought into the world as a mewling, helpless human infant, and what that entails in regards to his understanding of the human experience.
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