Diana Hsieh, whose Noodlefood blog I always enjoy, has a clever post showing by indirection how absurd a "socially responsible" holiday greeting can be:
Please accept, with no obligation implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress (Yeah, right), non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday...
So I went all conventional on her:
And a Merry Christ-mass to you! And a Happy New Year, beginning on the - hmm, what does January 1 commemmorate? What happened then? Can't be Christ's birth. Can't be the coming of the Magi- that's 12 days after Christmas, not 6. You would think Jesus-obsessed Christians would have started the new calendar from his birthday. Or the solstice, to co-opt the pagans. But no. Someone messed up somewhere. At least one can reject the use of "Common Era" and "Before the Common Era" to replace Anno Domini and Before Christ as ignorant or presumptuously dismissive of the historical connection between the generally used calendar and Christ, however puzzling the exact nature of that connection may be. Reality is messy, isn't it? But amenable to reasonable analysis.
The denial of Christian historical reality is a significant theme of Rodney Stark's book,The Victory of Reason, the analysis of which I expect will be a major feature of this blog in the next few days/weeks/years. I have two copies of St. Augustine's The City of God, so perhaps I'll dip into that as well.