Taking Christ out of Christmas doesn’t bother me. *
I love this season. I love the festivities, the decorations, the celebration of friends, family and food. Most of us live frenzied lives and only pay attention to each other one month a year, in a figurative orgy of goodwill and merriment. We have set this time aside to be the season of giving.
I even fully support the materialism of it (and here I may diverge from general consensus). Whatever your feelings on the commercialization of Christmas, exchanging gifts is a substantial part of the season. Of course, some people will take it to the extreme. Mottos like “diamonds are a girl’s best friend” make me want to gag – I much prefer electronics and books. Gifts are an expression of our love and friendship, and the best gifts truly are those that cost little and show how much you care. Plus, it’s just plain fun!
Winter festivals, for those of us in the Northern hemisphere anyway, have been a tradition since humans began marking the passing of seasons, a way to celebrate the previous seasons of abundance and preparing for the cold and often scant offerings awaiting. The end of the old and the anticipation of the fruits of the new year.
There is a lot to love about Christmas, or Solstice, Yule, Saturnalia or what have you. The sense of companionship as we gather together to feast and make merry. The community spirit we share. The cultural and religious rituals we cherish. Take what you like best about the season and run with it.
So I encourage atheists, agnostics, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Pagans, and others too numerous to mention, to celebrate the season together.
Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Sprightly Yule.
* I also fully support anyone’s right of observing Jesus’ birth, and any other religious holiday. By all means, go to town.**
**A little town of Bethlehem, even.