Reclaiming the Anti-State Roots of Christmas
While Christians the world over look to the celebration as a way to remember the incarnation of Christ, some dismiss it as a Christianized version of the ancient Rome’s Saturnalia. Whatever one’s view happens to be, I humbly suggest that it ought to be used by Christians and non-Christians alike as a reflection upon a collision of two kingdoms and two forms of rule. One that makes the way for life, and the other for misery, suffering, and death.
If the celebration of Christmas is an acknowledgement of the Almighty’s offering of peace and goodwill to people everywhere, then it behooves all people to remember who it is that offers universal war and ill-will. No other earthly institution has so consistently offered the latter than the state. The advent story itself reminds us in the second chapter of Matthew that it was a state actor, Herod, who aimed to snuff out the Prince of Peace in his infancy. Truly, the state hates anyone who stands to challenge to their claims of omniscience and omnipotence.
In the West, it is safe to say that most Christmas gatherings don’t include an intentional acknowledgement of the birth of Jesus. Nonetheless, these too might serve at least as reminders of the non-necessity of the state. Our networks of family, friends, and co-workers who offer words and actions of generosity, kindness, and hospitality are rightful reminders that our voluntary associations are at the center of good living. These interactions are indeed anarchic, stateless, and free from threats of violence (unless your uncle Harold has one too many).
Whatever a secularized version of a Christmas celebration might look like, the simple acts of exchanging gifts, the sharing of food and drink, and of a sense of kinship may produce – at the very least – a reflection of the goodness of productive activity that allows such enjoyment. This sentiment is abundantly shared on Ayn Rand’s comments on the American celebration of Thanksgiving as a “celebration of successful production.” It is that voluntary
Article from Mises Wire