Saturday, November 26, 2011

We don't use a corpse to celebrate the return of life

At our house, I just got the tree up. I say up, because my wife will decorate it tomorrow. I thought unpacking it and setting it up would be easier without the kids.

We use an artificial tree. Our current tree is prelit, so it just needs assembled and plugged in and it is ready to be decorated. Being prelit does make it easier -- and a lot faster. (At least, once the tote was brought in from the garage.)

In truth, as soon as the tree is cut from the ground it becomes a corpse. Sure, it is a wet corpse that can stay green for a few weeks, but a juicy corpse is still a corpse. Besides, would it really be better to think of it as a slowly dying tree, wailing and crying to at last find release in the lost forest of its birth?

My wife wanted (and got) a "real" tree for our first Christmas together. I got teary explaining my issues with it. Since then we've had artificial trees. I think she's officially a convert, though, as they're so much easier to manage.

If you're celebrating the Winter Solstice and the end of winter and the begining of the return of life, why would you start that celebration with death and dismemberment? Why celebrate the upcoming return of greenery and the rebirth of life by prematurely ending the life of a tree -- purely for the purpose of decoration?

If you see Christmas as a celebration of Odin and Sleipnir -- discretely disguised but still Norse, complete with stockings -- why not honor Yggdrasil by decorating a live tree? The traditional Yule Log is a log -- something once needed to keep a home warm -- and not a whole tree thrown out when it becomes ready to use as firewood.

Personally, I celebrate Santa Claus at Christmas. (I really want to get a set of Rankin-Bass figurines to use as a Christmas Nativity.) Santa Claus and presents are a staple of the season. The inclusion of them in my faith helps to normalize it. In a school setting a non-Christian celebrating Christmas with Santa and presents is far more normal that a Christian celebrating Christmas without Santa or presents.

What ever you call your winter holiday, and whomever you honor with it, I hope you have a jolly, merry time filled with gaity, cheer, and mirth.

Friday, November 25, 2011

New fiction blog

Well, my fiction writing officially has a blog of its own.

S. W. Black, named after my current moniker. (I've done NaNoWriMo again -- this time with a new baby.)

I want to update this blog more but family commitments do interfere. We'll see if I can breathe some life in to it again soon.