The lights, the shopping, the smells, the days off work, the music and socialising makes it my favourite holiday period. The further I move away from all things religious, the more I dread the possible eventual demise of this most precious pagan winter festival.
Jingle bells, Santa Claus caricatures plastered everywhere, mould wine and many other treats to look forward to.
I love Christmas.
As for the virgin birth, well...imagine nowadays young Mary coming home and telling her parents she's pregnant but...hasn't had sex!
She wouldn't be visited by three wise men either, but more likely the Social Services. And if she were unlucky enough to have been born into a religious fundamentalist culture in the Middle East (as she was according to myth) she'd get stoned without needing a visit from her pusher..
Had this whole sorry saga actually happened, can you imagine the rumours that would have swept through sleepy Nazareth! The evil whispers and nasty gossip!
"Hey Joseph, I hear your young spouse hath a bun in the oven madeth not with your ingredients"
And "what if the child is born black? What with Mary and thou being 100% Aryan and all..."
But I guess back then Joseph would have consulted with one of the many prophets doing the rounds in the Middle East at the time (and there were dozens) who would have probably encouraged the storage of hair samples of all three of them, in the then modern invention of clay jugs, for future DNA paternity tests.
I feel sorry for Joseph, and not just because we share the same name but because he didn't even get to sample the pleasures of having sex with Mary, yet had to help change nappies, night feeds and all the laborious duties of parenthood.
Today, a similar situation would raise a few eyebrows, yet so many believe that back in the unforgiving and ultra-strict dark ages that's exactly what happened! And Mary escaped unscathed.
Back then society must have been one of two things;
1) Extremely tolerant (no chance)
2) Incredibly gullible (no doubt)
Just like some backward societies across vast swaths of the the present-day world.
At least back in the biblical times people had no access to the Internet and illiteracy was the norm.
What excuses are there today?
None that spring to mind.