I marked Christmas Eve by watching the Christmas episode of TV Funhouse and the film Bad Santa. TV Funhouse was a parody of children’s programs, and the main characters are foul-mouthed cynical animal puppets. The Christmas episode lampoons Christmas in many ways, including the opening scene where the host, Doug, oscillates between singing a manic “Jing-jing-jingly time of year” and a solemn “Christ was born.” The brilliant claymation short “Tingles the Christmas Tension” can be seen on YouTube.
After a night-long orgy, high on “Cheer,” the animal characters go see the Christmas pageant starring the goose’s son. A light shines on the goose egg lying in the manger on the stage and a voice speaks “Unto us a child is born…”
Looking at that egg I thought, “the most holy day of the Christian calendar is not the day when Jesus attained enlightenment, or when he performed some meaningful miracle, it’s the day he was born. And the other major holiday is the day he died. Christians mark the beginning and the end of Jesus’ life—not what came in between. Christmas emphasizes the horrible theology that Jesus is the only son of God—Christmas is special because its the day when God came to Earth—Jesus is a special case. None of us can be like him because he’s the only son of God and we’re flawed evil creatures.
How different from Buddhism, where the tree under which the Buddha achieved enlightenment is a holy place; how different to believe that the founder of your religion “was a person just like you, who chose life undefiled,” to quote my husband’s song “Dream Messiah.”