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Merry Birthday, Jesus and Happy Christmas, Santa!

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Totally Married Podcast

Episode 327

Elizabeth and Andy reflect on the year, discuss why she thinks she was a man in a past life and then give their unqualified advice to listener questions about what to do about processing a past assault, how to deal with a Mother In Law who always steals your Christmas gift thunder, how to deal with a partner who is unwilling to pick up after himself or participate in family life? Also a fun update from a past listener who BOUNCED! See you in the New Year and Enjoy!


Jennifer says:

So this episode just triggered my hurt from last year’s Christmas episode. Y’all need to be careful because you’re really insensitive to the people celebrating CHRISTmas as a religious holiday. I know it’s not intentional, but imagine if you were listening to a podcast where the banter was about Trump and “I don’t really get him…what’s the big deal? It doesn’t effect my life, he seems fine to me…sorry to those of you who take him seriously and are bothered by him.” I’m seriously not mad, just hurt. I completely remember feeling like this last Christmas. If you want to know more about Christians who celebrate Christmas, ask. If not, please don’t poke fun of it.

Elizabeth says:

That’s a fair point. I didn’t realize that it was hurtful, but I’ll try to be more thoughtful regarding religious sensitivities in the future.

Elizabeth says:

Wanted to share a super informative email from awesome Laimewed, Megan – all about origins of Christmas and everything else we didn’t know what we were talking about. Thanks Megan!

Lots to unpack here so let’s start with the birth of Jesus story:

Mary was not married when she conceived Jesus but she was engaged to Joseph. Getting pregnant is a pretty huge reason for Joseph to leave Mary and move on with his life…. So he decided that he was going to marry her so her child wouldn’t be a a bastard in the eyes of society and she wouldn’t get stoned to death but divorce her soon after. BUT then an Angel came to him and told him that Mary was telling the truth, she really didn’t sleep around and this kid really is the son of God. So he was convinced and married her and was a supportive husband and father to lil baby Jesus.

Meanwhile, word is getting around the region that the son of God is going to be born and some very smart/important dudes show up at King Herrod’s doorstep asking him if he knows where the song of God is going to be born. This is the first that Harrod hears of this and he is NOT. HAVING. IT. Harrod has been appointed by the Roman emperor as the King of the Jews. No one is going to take away his power. So he pretends to be into worshipping the new messiah and sends the wise men on their way asking them to report back… but secretly he wants them find out where Jesus is so he can kill him. The wise men see a super bright star in the sky and take it as a sign that they should follow it and that’s where Jesus will be… They find the baby, give him their gifts and worship him. When they leave an Angel tells them not to go back to Harrod so they just leave for home. Then an angel shows up to Joseph and tells them they aren’t safe, Harrod is going to try to kill Jesus… so Mary, Joseph and the baby leave Israel too and go to Egypt as refugees. Harrod goes ape-shit bananas because the wise men never came back and orders the death of every male child under the age of 2 in Bethlehem. Needless to say, Mary, Joseph and Jesus stayed in Egypt until Harrod died.

Okay so that’s the story but how does that factor into how we celebrate Christmas nowadays? Christianity didn’t pick up steam for a while after Jesus’s death until the Romans started taking over Pagan territories in the fourth century. Romans wanted to convert all these pagans to their religion so they made it easier by reassigning holidays that the pagans celebrated to Christian holidays. So Dec 25 was celebrated as Jesus’ birthday because it was previously celebrated as Mithra’s birthday (Pagan God of Light). In fact, tons of the traditions that are associated with Christian and secular Christmas go back to some of these Pagan holidays and rituals.

Also around this time of year is the Winter Solstice (shortest day of the year) and there are lots of Pagan Gods and Goddesses associated with that. Norse God Odin is the biggest influences on Christmas tradition. Odin is a white bearded guy with magic powers who has a horse that can take him through the sky great distances. Children would leave there shoes in the chimney filled with hay and carrots for the magic horse and in exchange Odin would leave gifts in their shoes… Later, when Christianity was spreading in Europe, St. Nicholas’s saint day was celebrated around the same time as the Odin celebration and in much the same way… (St Nicholas was a real Saint in the 3rd and 4th century who is known as the patron saint of children and a magical gift giver. His Saint’s Day (Every saint has one and back then all the saint’s days were ‘holy-days’ aka holidays) is Dec 6th. So for a long time in Christianity, gift giving happened on Dec 6th.

Fast forward to the split between the Catholics and the Protestants. Protestants don’t believe in Saints but they really liked all the fun gift giving traditions that went along with St. Nick’s Day. So instead of Saint Nick bringing gifts on Dec 6th, they told their kids that Baby Jesus brought their gifts on Dec 25th. Jesus is a baby and needs a helper to carry stuff (OBVS) so his helper took the form of scary guys (in Germany he would threaten you to behave well or you’d get kidnapped or whipped) or nice guys (in the Netherlands he’d dress sort of like a bishop and carry a Naughty/nice list).

So all of this was the context for what was a conscious (American) effort to make give Christmas a makeover and make it a family celebration in the early 1800’s. People wrote books and poems with a much more unified vision of Saint Nicholas/Santa Claus and these things went viral. The version we have today with the north pole, Santa suit, and reindeer was fully solidified in the late 1800’s.


Also, Elizabeth… if you’re interested in reading the bible more critically (as it sounds like you are!), I would recommend getting a critical resource or two to help you break it down. It’s really interesting when you look at the authors of the Bible, who they were and what they were trying to achieve with what they wrote (and how they edited each other’s work!).

Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah!

Emily says:

I just had a thought about the writer-inner with the doctor harassment situation — instead of calling the police directly (which I would find intimidating), or making a post on facebook, try finding out who the lawyers were that worked on the case and contact them — I imagine they would be very receptive and could potentially connect you with other victims (if they are open to that).

Veronica says:

Regarding the live-in boyfriend who is not doing his part. Sounds like he just wants a mom to take care of him and I think your advice for him to be kicked out with spot-on. Hope she listened to you.

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