It’s a very weird time of year for the non-religious skeptic. Everyone is going to church, talk of Jesus and God abound and the holiday discussion is centered around whether we should say Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas.
I didn’t grow up in a very religious home. My parents allowed me to make my own decision about religion. I went to bible school a few times when I was a child during summer. I even attended a Christian private school from pre-school to 1st grade. My only recollection of that experience is that the staff was scary and that I had to memorize verses every week. How that relates to a good education, I still have no idea. My parents, thankfully, figured this out quickly and put me into public school, where I really learned a lot and could grow up to be a well-rounded, healthy person.
Religion is such a sensitive subject, I even thought twice about whether I wanted to write anything on the net that talks about religion, and my views of it. I know there are friends that I have that are very religious, that may read this. Generally, I just avoid that subject with them, because most of the time, I have no desire to discuss or quarrel with them on my religious views. My friendship is more important that one aspect of their lives not aligning with mine.
I worry that if I do not share their religious sentiment, that they will think less of me, or they won’t patronize my business. But it’s time to set those feelings aside. I am a good, moral person… More than a lot of Christians that I know, actually. I don’t get to hide behind religion or sins. I have to be a good person because I want to be, and that the way I feel a moral citizen should act. I don’t worry what God might think, but rather what would my Mom and Dad think. That’s got more real-life implications.
For some reason, however, Christmas brings out the need for those so inclined religiously to really reach out to everyone and make sure that they are saved, or that we all know the “real reason for the season” (To get the retail businesses into the black for the year right??)
I don’t mind the pageantry of Christmas. I love the holiday, and I have no problem with churches extending their arms to find new sheep for their flock. As long as my views are respected and the fact that I don’t attend church regularly doesn’t make me a lesser person in their eyes, I’m perfectly fine. To me the symbolism of religion in Christmas is very much like the symbolism of Santa Claus. They’re both icons representing nice stories that, during this time of year, many people like to feel a part of so that they can push the stress and fear of the rest of the year aside for a moment and feel like there’s something bigger, and more important to think about.
To me Christmas isn’t real until I go over to my parents house and see all the decorations that adorn every corner of the place. Everything is sparkling, and colorful, and then, I feel the magic of the holiday. Who knew that such strong emotions could be stored in 35 boxes in their attic most the year.
When Christmas Eve comes, many of my relatives come there and we all sit around the table talking about our year, what’s going on and have a great time and good food. We miss our departed relatives, and talk about holidays past. There’s no prayer, no discussion about a story from centuries ago, just family, sharing a meal, good conversation, the emotions and love that can be found just as much at our house as the pastor’s house down the street.
Merry Christmas everyone.