Why is Christmas in December when the Book (cave ab homine unius libri!) is rather notably mum on the date, although talk of shepherds in Luke suggest the little bambino-homunculus was born with the lambs in spring/summer, traditional time of birth and rebirth. (Of course, Matthew, Luke, and John, like three guys who walk into a bar named Rashomon, all have different versions of the circumstances of the birth, but so much for gospel…). More like, the Fathers needed to incorporate/absorb/annihilate the pagan Saturnalia, celebration of the solstice. Anyway, these thoughts renewed recently while walking in Carroll Gardens, where I passed a garden crèche. One of the Three Wise Guys hanging out at the crib was ol’ Saint Nick. Frankincense, myrrh and Santa Claus? Jesus, talk about screwy theology.
My personal favorite of the seasonal singsongs is Walt Kelly’s carol, “Deck us all with Boston Charlie” (you know the tune):
Deck us all with Boston Charlie,
Walla Walla, Wash., an' Kalamazoo!
Nora's freezin' on the trolley,
Swaller dollar cauliflower alley-garoo!
Don't we know archaic barrel
Lullaby Lilla Boy, Louisville Lou?
Trolley Molly don't love Harold,
Boola boola Pensacoola hullabaloo!