I worked on Christmas Eve from 7:00 until 12:06 AM because of people who wanted to pay for their last-minute booze and graham cracker crusts with personal checks. I drove out of Arcata as fast I could. Within minutes, I was back in good old McKinleyville, where I live now. McKinleyville is totally what I was thinking of when I moved up to Humboldt County, not the hippie hellhole of Arcata. I tried to change my zip code in my preferences, but it still says Arcata, which is really annoying. I live at the end of a dirt road, I can't see any of the neighbors, and a rail trail is literally next to my house, all for $12.50 more than splitting a small box near HSU.
So as I was saying, I drove back really fast to McKinleyville for some reason, and I drove past the Catholic church near my house. They were having Midnight Mass. I was 18 minutes late, but I went in at the urging of a Sheriff who was coming out of the church. It was the most intimate Catholic church I have ever been to, with maybe 10 rows of pews. I saw a girl I work with there. There was no Christmas decorations except for one- baby Jesus in the manger. No shepherds, just Jesus.
I went home and I read the two passages of the New Testament that talk about the birth of Jesus. Nobody was there except for Mary and Joseph (and the sheep I guess). The Magi, aka three Zoroastrian astrologer priests, arrived a few days later from Persia (aka Iran). They went to King Herod first and told them of how the star had led them there. Before they left, Herod asked them to come back and tell him where the baby was, so he could pay homage to him as well. After paying their respects to the baby Jesus, they left town by a differnt route so they didn't have to see Herod. These three Zoroastrian Magi were the first ones to worship Jesus. The shepherds were told about the meaning of the star by an angel, so they hadn't been waiting for this moment for thousands of years like the Magi, but they honored Jesus as well.
So then I went to work today from 12-5, and it was a zoo as we were one of the only stores open for miles around, and checked out people who looked angry and frantic. Theoretically, most of the people there were Christians of some sort, but they were not happy that Jesus was born today. In fact, it was probably the furthest thing from their minds. They were too busy buying crap for people they don't even like anyway so nobody will think they are weird for questioning the American consumer holiday known as "Christmas," which has nothing to do with the fufillment of Zoroastrian prophecy.
So I'm home from work now. I am celebrating Christmas alone. I have no tree, nobody to see or hang out with. I got 4 Christmas cards, some cool presents, a Bible, and a copy of "A Charlie Brown Christmas." I already called my family (who are 3,500 miles away) and EJ. A mellow contemplative evening lies ahead.
So riddle me this: who is celebrating the birth of Jesus and who is celebrating "Christmas?"