It’s hard to be an atheist on Christmas...
No, that’s a lie. It’s easy to be an atheist on Christmas in America. Just like millions of other families we celebrate the holidays in a secular manner. We try to promote charity, goodwill towards men, and joy during the season (indeed during all seasons) and whether storekeepers (or if you prefer, underpaid wage slaves) send us rushing home with our treasures with ‘Merry Christmas’, ‘Happy Holidays’, or any number of holiday greetings that are also going on during the Christmas season, we respond in kind, smile and feel the warmth that the holiday season seems to instill in so many.
We adopt families or children from programs like The Salvation Army’s ‘Angel Tree’ and allow our daughter to pick out appropriate items, teaching her the importance of charity and giving. We don’t have to go to church or pray to teach her these lessons, we merely need to demonstrate compassion, love, and charity in our own lives as an adult and she will learn the same.
We put up a tree and watch all the Christmas specials (though as much as I love A Charlie Brown Christmas, I do take issue with the religious overtones – just because of the age of my daughter). We do Santa (albeit grudgingly, as I hate to lie to children on any manner – even on something as seemingly innocuous as Santa), we make Christmas candy, we eat, we spend time with family and friends. There is eggnog and both secular and non-secular holiday music.
In other words, our Christmas looks almost identical to many other Christmases being celebrated around the U.S. – except that Jesus is not the reason for our season. We don’t ‘Believe’ as Macy’s would like us to do, we take the Christ out of Christmas.
The lone piece of Christmas that gets under my skin is the far rights insistence that there is a ‘war on Christmas’. I call shenanigans. (See: a commercial enterprise such as Macy’s using the slogan ‘Believe’) It’s a minor irritation at most, like a mosquito that you just can’t quite kill, but there are days where it makes a mark on my mood. No reasonable non-Christian finds ‘Merry Christmas’ any more offensive than a reasonable Christian finds ‘Happy Holidays’ offensive. The media is attempting to whip people into a frenzy that just doesn’t exist, that I find troubling.
But other than the obvious reasons, are our Christmases any less ‘Christian’? or more immoral than a traditional Christian Christmas? Naturally, I don’t think so. We take all of the good things from the Christian tradition of Christmas (love, charity, selflessness) and merely eschew the supernatural aspects of the holiday.
So, Readers, can you have Christmas effectively without Christ? Why not?
Thank you, April, for today's guest post! Visit April at The Steadfast Reader.