Sunday, December 19, 2010

Merry .....?

This time of year usually creates quite a few questions for me. Questions that I don't always know the answers to. As an atheist, the birth of Jesus means as much to me as the birth of any other historical figure I've never met, which is to means nothing to me. So I tell people that I don't celebrate Christmas. But my wife puts up a tree. It's artificial (and black, kinda goth right?) but we (she) decorate it every year and put presents under it. Yes, presents!!!! My son is ten and everyone else in my family is a "believer" to some degree or another, so they buy him Christmas gifts. So we do too. I guess we are just going with the flow here. It's not a religious celebration to me, but a time that I can spoil my kid with video games and gadgets that he wants (I usually look for opportunities to do just that). Do I call it Christmas? NO!!!! But everyone around us does, and when he receives a gift at the end of December, he calls it a Christmas gift. He's right...someone gave him that gift in celebration of Christmas. I don't really feel that it is a religious holiday in America anymore, much to the chagrin of many (some who may be reading this now). It's a time to gather with family and friends to let each other know that you appreciate each other. It's a shame that we only pick a handful of days throughout the year to do this, but that's how it seems to work. I explained these thoughts to my son and he suggested that I give him gifts all year long (you can't fault him for trying). So you call it Christmas, and I'll keep searching for a name for it. Maybe it shouldn't have a name or a special day and we should do it more often. Call me crazy (or an atheist, you may think they go hand in hand).

1 comment:

  1. I still call it christmas, although that's probably because I carry the smug satisfaction of knowing that most christians don't realise their saviour's name (and hence, "his" holiday) is pagan in origin, possibly even further back.

    I don't think it's ever been a religious holiday, really. It was always about hunkering down to make it through the cold winter by harvesting the last of the crops, slaughtering the cattle that wouldn't survive until spring, and bottling up all the wine and beer they'd been brewing throughout the year and having a bloody big feast out of it all.

    I think it's always been more about celebrating togetherness, the interdependence between people (particularly families) and giving thanks (and/or gifts) for the fact that you've all made it through another year, and that's how I like to see it ... "I couldn't have survived this year without you - have a sweater" :) People who say christmas has become too commercialised have missed the point because it's all about spoiling yourself and others ... it's the one time of year you know you'll get to!

    We've got a black tree too (with all silver decorations - so goth it hurts) :)