You are missing something.
That does happen from time to time. I occasionally tell people that I'm not always happy living in my brain because it does do just that. Ah, well.
None of thse 'harmless' stripped pagan symbols are African in origin.
OK, but I don't see the problem with that. Humans being what they are, every culture has produced and still does concepts and demands that it ought not. Even in Africa our concepts were not always of the best. In fact, most of what in America passes for honoring our African roots is a romanticized, rather Rousseauean view of ancient Africa, stripped of its real meaning and made harmless by American isolation from all that we don't like, like nature. So Christmass isn't African. That doesn't mean that it's bad nor that things African are by that made better than Christmas, or that we would be better off by celebrating something truly African instead of Christmas.
BTW bowing down to the X-mass tree on the winter solstice doesn't sound like an empty gesture to me
But my point was that we don't bow down to it. We use it as a symbol of a season of fun and frenzied shopping, not anything more. The harm in that lies in us, not in the tree.
They have us practicing their Euro-paganism and disrespecting, vilifying, and aboring our Afro-pagains...BTW I don't have a problem with the word pagan it just means...the belief and practices othe country folk.
One form of paganism (and I agree with you that paganism is not a negative term. I tend to use "polytheist" most of the time to keep from having to explain myself on this point repeatedly, but it's a perfectly good word to use) is not different in spirit from another. They differ only in specifics and in details. All of them are an attempt to understand the larger-than-me world.
Trouble is, in America we're not pagans any more, nor do we show any evidence of reverting to pagan thinking. The world is not populated by imps and goblins or even powers bigger than me. That was the point of my thread on believing in nothing. If we can pick and choose what we believe in--and Americans do that--then our Higher Power is ourselves and our choices. This is the reason for deconstructionism, for the multiplicity of beliefs, for the rapid and visceral offense taken at disagreements. The pagan at least had a world larger than himself. We do not. My world is my choice, and that's all that the world is.
Taht's why the pagan symbols are stripped of their meaning and "made harmless," because in our eyes they point to nothing beyond ourselves. We don't bow down to the tree because there's no reason to: "La ilaha illa me."
So it isn't "their" fault. It's the modernist world and culture, which we gladly embrace. It's our fault, not theirs.
But Christmas isn't a bad thing, not when we remember the Savior.