Thursday, December 09, 2004

an atheist and Christmas

I've always loved Christmas. Usually just after Thanksgiving is over (earlier than that is just too soon!) I break out the Christmas music and start looking for presents and decorating. When I was a child I was fascinated with the thought that people all over the world were, for at least a few weeks, stopping to praise and acknowledge the Light of the World.

However, as I grew I began to get a bit disillusioned with all the commercialism, and the ways in which the stores try to start Christmas ridiculously early--before Halloween!--in order to get people in the mood for shopping. My family has never made a big deal out of present giving--and I think this is a big part of the reason I've never gotten caught up in the commercialism. However, I have gotten some wonderful things as presents. Favorite presents that I've gotten were a tiny 76mm reflector telescope though which I glimpsed my first view of the moon's craters (other than though pictures or television) as soon as it was dark. The telescope was terribly awkward to aim--I couldn't even get the moon in the view without help from Dad--but it is one of my favorite presents I've ever gotten. I still have it.

Most of my favorite and most memorable presents were science related. Once I got a kit about light--it contained a small glow in the dark patch and an explanation of why things can glow in the dark, a couple of lenses that could be put together to form a small telescope (as well as a mount that allowed them to be pushed closer or farther apart), and a prism which I still have sitting in my window.

Christmas is full of memories for me--Christmas Eve parties at my Grandparent's home for as far back as I remember, the drives we've taken for no reason other than to enjoy the Christmas lights on all the houses down the street, and the special services at Church for each Sunday in December leading up to the special day.

Yes, the religious aspect of Christmas has always been dear to me. And yes, since I've ceased believing in the stories of Christianity, Christmas has not been quite the same. I still enjoy Christmas music (I'm listened to some right now--Hark the Herald Angels Sing)--in fact, the traditional Christmas story is a very nice myth and it is easy for me to appreciate it without trying to force literal reality on it. I've also included stuff from other traditions into my season as well, such as the Winter Solstice. After all the Sun is the Reason for the Season--since loooong before Jesus was said to be born. To me, Christmas is a time to relive memories, participate in family traditions, to reflect on the past year and to plan for the coming year.

Merry Christmas and Happy Solstice

BTW, in case you are unfamiliar with Solstice, here are a couple sites with more information.

1 comment:

Katrin said...

do you ever eat chicken! hahahahahahahhahahahhaha

no only kidding. I'm from Iceland. Nice blog. Please check out mine.

my friend showed me a photo of you. I think you're really cute.