Monday, November 29, 2004


In the middle of winter when fogs and rains most abound they have a great festival which they call Exmas, and for fifty days they prepare for it in the fashion I shall describe. First of all, every citizen is obliged to send to each of his friends and relations a square piece of hard paper stamped with a picture, which in their speech is called an Exmas-card. But the pictures represent birds sitting on branches, or trees with a dark green prickly leaf, or else men in such garments as the Niatirbians believe that their ancestors wore two hundred yeaars ago riding in coaches such as their ancestors used, or houses with snow on their roofs. And the Niatirbians are unwilling to say what these pictures have to do with the festival, guarding (as I suppose) some sacred mystery. And because all men must send these cards the market-place is filled with the crowd of those buying them, so that there is great labour and weariness...

But when the day of the festival comes, then most of the citizens, being exhausted with the Rush, lie in bed till noon. But in the evening they eat five times as much supper as on other days and, crowning themselves with crowns of paper, they become intoxicated. And on the day after Exmas they are very grave, being internally disordered by the supper and the drinking and reckoning how much they have spent on gifts and on the wine.
~C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock, "Xmas and Christmas: A Lost Chapter from Herodotus" (1st published in Time and Tide, 1954)


On this day:

1898 Clive Staples "Jack" Lewis is born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, to Albert J. Lewis (1863 - 1929) and Florence Augusta Hamilton Lewis (1862-1908).

1917 Lewis arrives at the front-line trenches in France.

4 Comment(s):

At Mon Nov 29, 07:56:00 AM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

Heh, that Jack--he can be such a curmudgeon sometimes!

At Mon Nov 29, 12:07:00 PM EST, Blogger Sandicomm said...

Someone once said that Christmas was the Disneyfication of Christianity (not Jack though).

I never really liked the Thanksgiving Day parade and now I know why: it's so dirty, all these balloons advertising toys that people should buy. Ugh, I hate it. Not to mention when my family and I were driving home and the only songs on the radio were Christmas songs. I was ready to kill myself, or at least the radio.

But I digress. Besides, my Christmas cards don't have Victorian Santas on them; they have parsimmon berries! (From the Metropolitan Museum of Art, they're really pretty.)

I can imagine how gross this commercialization was (and grosses me out at times) for Lewis when it started. I'm sure that those of you who actually have a reason to celebrate Christmas , I'm sure, do try to go to Church and teach the meaning of Christmas. Me, I eat Bouche de Noel...

At Mon Nov 29, 07:24:00 PM EST, Blogger CarolynVB said...

So THAT's where the idea for the Grinch came from...who knew?

I do agree about being "internally disordered" and the "great labour and weariness..."

= )

At Tue Nov 30, 09:10:00 PM EST, Blogger Anamire said...

LOL! This reminds me of a story we read in my archaeology class last year about a group of people from the future who found the ruins of a modern bathroom and tried to figure out what it was for. Only, in that story, the ancient people were called the Nacirema. :)


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