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Archive for December, 2007

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Strip me down

Past the softness of cotton

Through everything synthetic

Down to the skin, and farther still

Peel deep into me 

Beyond all nerve and sinew and muscle

Past all resistance  (more…)

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Feliz Navidad is roughly translated Merry Christmas, with the word navidad corresponding to nativity. Sometimes it is used as an adjective, such as in Luces Navideños  (Nativity Lights). As far as I know there has been no political attempt to use substitutes for Feliz Navidad, as there has been in recent years with Christmas. Everywhere I go, there is a preponderance of things holiday and a scarcity of things Christmas. Last Christmas I happened to be looking for the word in Home Depot and I chanced to read an Hispanic man’s name tag on his company’s shirt. His name, I kid you not, was Natividad. Sadly, that nametag was the closest thing I saw to the word Christmas.

Christmas takes me back to the settlement of the New World. We all know from memory the names of Columbus’ three ships – the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. I’m not an historian and have no idea what happened to the Niña and the Pinta, but I do know what happened to the Santa Maria, and it a curious-enough story.

The Santa Maria did not make the return trip to Spain. It ran into a sandbar on Christmas Eve, 1492 and sank off the coast of Hispaniola. With the wreckage from the ship, Columbus had his men build a fortress. Because the ship sank the following day, Columbus named the colony fortress La Navidad. Amazingly, the first settlement in the new world came from Santa Maria, Saint Mary, and was called Christmas.

Today, many people, businesses, and governments feel they have found a safe word to use for Christmas – the word holiday. What they seem to have forgotten is that holiday is a conjuction of holy and day.  Removing Christmas from this most holy of holy days is comparable to removing James, the King of England’s name, from Jamestown. Imagine people arriving in Virginia to get a tour of Kingville (wink,wink) rather than Jamestown. Someone somewhere, we don’t know who,  might be offended when they hear the word James  in Jamestown. That would be the Mount Everest of absurdity, and the subject of intense mockery by everyone who heard it. But very little fuss is made today over the omission of Christmas.

I thought I had heard every euphemism ever dreamed up until this Christmas season. Holiday tree, winter concert, season savings, Happy Holidays, Season’s Greetings, holiday reindeer. Even companies like “Merry Brite,” which sell Christmas lights. Recently at Lowe’s, I saw Miracle Trees. I was surprised by this. Wow! It’s a miracle . . . tree. Makes me want to ask, “What the heck is a Miracle Tree?”

I’m not advocating that businesses be forced to put Merry Christmas on their white signs, the ones with black magnetic letters, or that government officials be subjected to the Heimlich maneuver to get them to belch out “Merry Christmas!”  I’m simply saying why be pressured not to say it?

When Columbus returned to Hispaniola on November 27th of the following year, 1493, he pulled into the port near La Navidad. He was met by some natives he had befriended the preceding year. The brought him a gift of two gold masks. After this meeting he hurried to see his little Christmas village. He was dismayed to find La Navidad burned down and all thirty-seven of the Christians murdered by the natives. He found no one there, only the local natives slinking around at the edge of the forest.

Maybe La Navidad was a portent of things to come in the New World. Do civilized people really want us all to forget Christmas, and at the heart of Christmas, Christ? If so, I venture to say that they are trying to hide the secret truth that they are motivated by an anti-Christ spirit. That they want to keep us appeased and happy, appealing to our own secret love of gold, lost in the glitter of it all. To cover the lies, they offer – and we must accept – their materialistic masks.  And while we are looking out from behind the smiling masquerade, La Navidad is burning, and our enemies are slithering around at the edge of Western civilization with the blood of hope dripping off their fingers. 

I smell the smoke of La Navidad.

 

Notes:

1To read about “La Navidad” search for The Fate of the New World’s First Spanish Settlement by Edward T. Stone, managing editor of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer for twenty-two years before his retirement in 1965.

2Congress passed acts recognizing Christmas as a holiday in 1870, 1885, and 1894.

3The US Supreme Court adheres to the federal legal holidays, including Christmas Day (see Government Federal Holiday web page)

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