I love Christmas, and I love the Christmas story.
Still, the story predates Christmas (if not Christianity), and the story told today has been adulterated.
Not sure straightening out a few myths by referring to the source of the myths counts as science, but it's a good lesson in looking at sources, and the solstice gave me a good excuse to drag out a globe in class to explain the seasons.
(And no, we are not farther from the sun this time of year--we will be as close as we get in about two weeks.)
The Christ was not born in the winter.
The Wise Men were not at the manger.
The current version of Christianity is not in danger of extinction. It has the strength of the United States military behind it. Just ask Mr. Obama, General McChrystal, or the children of Chowkar-Karez .
The Christ did not tell Constantine to put the cross on the shields of his soldiers before his battle against Maxentius. Constantine may have believed this, but it is our shame that we accept a myth utterly contrary to His words.
We move with energy from the sun, our mass built from the breath of the life before us. Carbon dioxide and water and sunlight play with a few strands of DNA. We are special, but no more special than the yeast that taught Jesus how to make wine.
Christian privilege is real. Try greeting a Transportation Security Administration agent with "Assalaamu Alaikum".
These are the shortest days of the year in this neck of the woods. Life needs sunlight, and the light is dying. The longest night of the year looms.
The sun will return.
Merry Natalis Solis Invicti--the real reason for the season. The sun starts its inexorable journey northward, and those of us who survive the winter will be saved again, as we have since before we could speak.
And that is reason enough to celebrate.