yep. jesus and his family were jewish. they weren't christian. oops- did i let that out of the bag? the early christians- jewish. they considered themselves jewish. paul was the catalyst by which the early christian church got going and once rome saw the potential- well, look where it has gotten us. pagan folks throughout the ancient world always celebrated winter solstice because they were in tune with nature and farming and whatnot. it helped mark time and break up the monotony. i do agree that holidays give folks something to look forward to.
but i will say again that modern christmas is a corporate invention. and that includes the churches which have become decidedly corporate during the 2oth and 21st century. guess they built on the successful business of catholicism. santa- invented by coca cola. war on christmas- robertson, falwell and all of the other corporates who use limos and live in mansions built on 'tithe' money. and no, this isn't a random rant- it's a prelude and set up to christopher hitchens' latest essay. religion is about the only thing i agree with him on- and he is a delight to read in that realm.
"But I invite you to consider things more lucidly. If all the official stories of monotheism, from Moses to Mormonism, were to be utterly and finally discredited, we would be exactly where we are now. All the agonizing questions that we face, from the idea of the good life and our duties to each other to the concept of justice and the enigma of existence itself, would be just as difficult and also just as fascinating. It takes a totalitarian mind-set to claim that only one Bronze Age Palestinian revelation or prophecy or text can be our guide through this labyrinth. If the totalitarians cannot bear to abandon their adoration of their various Dear Leaders, can they not at least arrange to hold their ceremonies in private? Either that or give up the tax-exempt status that must remind them so painfully of the things of this material world."