By Roy Hudson
Shortly after the Christian church officially decreed December 25th the new celebration day of the risen son's birth, there was some awkwardness in the Heavens. The Roman sun god Mithras had long been praised on this day. As one might guess, Mithras was somewhat irritated when the news reached him. Suddenly, another god approached him.
Mithras turned and looked upon his visitor. “Well, well… Look who it is: the one and only true god himself. What do you want, Jehovah?”
Jehovah fiddled his fingers. “Surely you’re not still upset about that, are you, Mithras? The Judaic people wanted something to call their own, and I gave it to them.”
“That you did, but did you have to tell them that the rest of us are false idols? Of course I’m still upset about that. I’m not the only one who is, either. What are you doing here, anyway?”
“It’s this newest group, the Christians. See, I realized I was being a jerk to the Jewish, so… I literally sacrificed my own flesh and blood to apologize. You know, God and sinners reconciled, all that? Anyway… these Christians just did the silliest thing. They—”
“I know what they did,” Mithras interrupted. “They co-opted my birth celebration as yours, so that future generations will forget about me.”
“Not mine, Mithras… my son’s.”
“Same person, Jehovah!”
“I know… but you have to admit, it is clever how they changed ‘the birth of the unconquerable sun’ into ‘the birth of the risen son!’ S-O-N! Isn’t that funny… Mithras?”
“I guess not. Sorry. I just wanted to let you know that I had nothing to do with it. Constantine-”
“How dare you speak his name to me,” shouted Mithras, sending fear through the core of his associate.
“Yes, I know… The Roman Emperor converting to Christianity is a low blow for you. I get it.”
“You ‘get it’? Get out, Jehovah.”
“I just want you to know I bear you no ill will, Mithras. The whole ‘jealous God’ thing was a dick move, but I made up for it! Sinners, what I once called people who worship other gods? Forgiven!”
“Unfortunately, Jehovah, your followers do not excel at deriving meaning from symbolism. They’re still teaching both your Torah and the New Testament to these… Christians.” He spoke the word with great distaste. “Your son may have been sacrificed as a symbol of forgiveness, as you call it, but they seem to have missed the point and are sticking to the jealous God thing.”
“Look, I’m sure that, in a millennium or two, the more easily-offended Christians will have died out, and they’ll understand what I truly meant by dying among them as a man. No more wars in my name, no more sacrifices to me, no more persecution against homosexuals, females, dark-skinned races, and the followers of the rest of you gods. I’m sorry, okay?”
“And what if they don’t understand? What if they believe your Christ child is the only reason to celebrate December 25th, and that you still wish the so-called Old Testament to be taught as your Word, the Word of the only ‘true’ God? What then, Jehovah?”
“Then, all I can say is that I’d failed, even though they believe me to be infallible. But humans are smarter thank you think, Mithras!”
The sun god snorted. “Of course you would think that. I believe you made them in your image, according to your Book?”
Suddenly, Odin burst in, waving his enormous sword and shouting, "Okay, who's the wise guy who claimed all twelve days of Yule for himself?"
"Oh, me," Jehovah said under his breath.
Mithras smiled. "Try explaining your symbolism to him. And by the way: Happy Christmas."
Jehovah sighed. "Happy Sol Invictus, Mithras. Merry Yule, Odin."
Odin sheathed his mighty sword and guzzled a mug of meade. "Damned right, merry Yule. You can have your birthday celebrations. The eight-legged horse and me are going out to claim some heads. Good luck co-opting that, Christians!"
Mithras snorted again. "I'm sure they'll find a way."
"Ho, ho, ho!" Odin laughed. "They're welcome to try and fail."