Christmas De-light

I don’t usually do holiday commemorative posts, unless it’s “here’s the recipes for the food we ate” kind of thing, and then I usually put them up on my food blog.  The reason for this is that holidays are usually either a) satisfying in a boring kind of way, or b) difficult to talk about.

I don’t like Christmas as much as I like Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving is all about food; I get that.  I have a more difficult relationship with Christmas.

I’m not a Christian any more, yet I celebrate the holiday.  I struggled with the “what are you anyway” question for a long time.  I think I’ve ended up in the agnostic category.

I don’t think humans are smart enough to know the truth about the universe, the same way we’re not smart enough to count all the stars in the sky with a glance.  I mean, we might get proof of cosmic divinity or we might get proof of the GUT, but we’ll never be able to grasp it.  We’re lacking something; “smartness” might not even be what we lack.  I feel like humanity is that group of blind man feeling an elephant, each one describing what it feels, but unable to see the whole.

“Jesus is the truth!”

“There is no god!”

“The supreme being is Pan!”

“Flying Spaghetti Monster!”

I don’t think we can know.  I think we all have a piece of the truth, but I don’t think we can put them together in a significantly “true” fashion.  All I know is that, whatever there is, I will do what’s needed of me.  Something I can know, down to my bones, is whether I have acted in accordance with the belief that joy is better than pain, and if there is a capital-G God, then he may do with me as he wills, as long as there is more joy in the world because of me.  Ditto for the laws of physics, fate, etc.

So what am I doing, getting ready to celebrate Christmas?  Isn’t it disrespectful to celebrate a holiday of a religion whose creed I cannot profess?

One, it’s how I grew up.

Two, lack of sunlight makes me tired and sad, and this is the darkest part of the year.  I need lights and good cheer.

Three, once you scrape off the hypocrisy (St. Paul my @$$), Jesus was a good guy.  “Play nice” is a good spiritual path.

Four, Santa Claus was also a good guy.

Once you get past the age of “me me me,” the very best part of Christmas is being able to give other people things. (Obligatory gifts still suck, I must say.)  Whether you’re the type to give people presents or send donations to charity or spend the day working in a soup kitchen or volunteering at church, Christmas becomes a day to say, “This is for you.”

A day to delight someone else.

And so, whether Christmas makes you miserable or makes your head spin ’round with collecting ornaments, please take a moment to consider the things that have given you the most delight in this life, even if it’s sniggering at someone else being an idiot.*

*I’m looking at you, Celina.

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3 Comments

  1. Ian

    I’m not a Christian either, but I enjoy celebrating Christmas – mostly because I love giving gifts to friends and family. I know I can do it any time of year, but it feels a little more special to do so now.

    Merry Christmas, Deanna!

  2. Flying Spaghetti Monster…indeed. Next year my tree is going to be decorated in noodles.

  3. Though I’m a Christian, my thoughts on the knowability (or understandability) of the universe are much as yours. As is the joy of Christmas in giving to others (and delighted, or at least polite, receiving from others, too).

    That sentiment is a human universal, which is why I find all the War on Christmas or overemphasis of Baby Jesus as the Reason for the Whatever by some of my co-religionists to be dismaying, disturbing, irksome, and even harmful.

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