Merrier Christmas to and from those who do not believe in any gods

 

There are other religions besides Christian. They do not believe Jesus was associated with any god in the same way most Europeans and people of the Americas do.

For most of my long life I have claimed to be a believer in god; specifically, I was Christian. I was a cradle Catholic who went to church, as obligated, every Christmas and Easter regardless of the state of my other church participation. The full story is too long, but I ran the extremes from almost nothing (referred to as ‘practical atheism’) to daily religious immersion and leadership.

From a religious participation point of view, for a time I took Advent and Easter more seriously than I did Christmas. From a cultural Catholic/Christian point of view, Christmas was the biggest deal, followed by Thanksgiving. But now I am an American citizen and atheist.

What does it matter? Well, it should not. My family has celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas for many years. I’m not sure if any of my relatives or friends identify as atheist. But we are a family and those two holidays are all about family to me. For some reason, Thanksgiving seems to be the bigger deal these days. It’s a tradition.

When we moved back to Texas last year, our daughter-in-law said she was pleased because there would be more family stuff during celebration times. My wife decorates our home for most holidays, but not as much as in the past, and we don’t put out any religious items like a nativity scene or other art objects commemorating the birth or death of Jesus.

Around this time each year, I want to clarify my views about Christmas. I have many good memories of Christmas and the holiday season. I enjoy Christmas music for a while, but eventually I need eleven months to recover. I have some on my play list. In fact, religious music is fine. Some of it is great. I love the calm of Gregorian chant. I have written about music and other similar religious things in the past. Just because I don’t do that any longer does not mean that I want it to stop, that I am repulsed, or object. It is fine.

There is one chance in 365 that a male Jewish baby was born on December 25, roughly 2,000 years ago, who was then crucified and rose from the dead. If there was such a man, his date of birth is unknown. Also, in Christendom, celebrating this day as the birth of Christ is relatively new. Some Christian groups still do not celebrate. So, for most of my life Christmas has been kind of a wink-wink religious holiday. But it is a fun time from a secular point of view.

I wish a Merry Christmas to people on the 25th. If someone wishes me a Merry Christmas on some other day, I return the greeting and good wishes. While I prefer the inclusiveness of Happy Holidays, I don’t care what greeting people choose. I doubt if most atheists care, despite all the BS clamoring about wars on Christmas and some objections to verbal acknowledgements. It is not as big a deal as “In God We Trust” or forced prayer.

So, while I admittedly celebrate a secular holiday at Christmas, I do not object to people of any religion or social group celebrating their holidays, if I am not forced to participate or inconvenienced by them. Many of us, non-believers, believers, and everyone in between can do this and appreciate each other. It is the holiday season. If you think me a hypocrite, that’s your choice

I wish you a Happy Christmas Eve, a festive yuletide season, and a wonderful week highlighted with a Merry Christmas tomorrow.

There may not be any gods, but that should not stop us from enjoying life, friends, and family whenever we can.

Bill

Look both ways to see other points of view.
Mind the gaps. They’re everywhere.

10 thoughts on “Merrier Christmas to and from those who do not believe in any gods

  1. As an atheist, I have no problem wishing people Merry Christmas or returning the greeting, either. I, too, have wonderful Christmas memories and still very much enjoy Christmas carols, some of the most distinctive and beautiful music humans have every produced. I suppose I see Christmas time as a secular season of celebration and appreciation of life, family, and friends… and a time to reflect upon the past year and the direction of our lives. And I suspect that more and more “believers” see it the same way. Merry Christmas, Bill, and all the best to you in the coming year.

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  2. This expresses exactly how I feel. It’s about family, love, food and appreciation for the very fact we are alive and all the beauty in the world and the best in mankind, not the worse.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Happy Christmas and Blessed Yuletide. Excellent post. Christmas is more about family – well, it was until I moved to the US and Thanksgiving took centre stage.

    Although I was brought up as a Christian – in the Anglican Church as I lived in England – I explored other beliefs as I got older. There are moments when I feel that my doubts make me an atheist, but I can’t shake my spiritual feelings even if the label is hard to tie down.

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  4. Nothing wrong with a spiritual feeling of the connectiveness of the universe and all things, which lends to a reverence and appreciation. Doesn’t mean there’s some imaginary entity out there controlling your life or deciding your fate. Just means everything came from the same beginning at some point and the whole universe is on a journey. But it’s science not magic.

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  5. Very well-written, as usual. I’m always happy to be wished a Merry Christmas, because that means the intent is kindness and don’t we all need more of that? I’m a Happy Holidays person, too, unless I know the person’s dogma. Christmas is the day most of us don’t have to work or school, the day most of us do our traditional stuff. I can’t imagine trying to make my entire family Yule — oh it’s a no-go for work and school because Yule. Yeah, that’d be somethin.
    We had my fundamentalist in-laws over last night. We never do that, but this year they’re moving and their house is all packed up. FIL prayed. I fed them latkes. It was fine. I think it was fine because no one had expectations. We could all use more of that as well.

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