I sit on a throne of lies. Oh well. Merry Christmas!
I don’t consider myself a Christian. I used to be, but I’m not anymore. I decided to stop identifying as such because, well, I didn’t believe any of it. None of it made sense. There were too many holes. When presented with something so lacking in intellectual consistency I decided it wasn’t worth my time, and I haven’t looked back.
Then it hit me: What do I do about Christmas?
Christmas had long ago ceased to be a religious holiday for me (although I always did like going to midnight mass, even though it was 72 hours long and 5 hours past my bedtime). It was a time to decorate a tree with the crappy ornaments that my brother and I made in elementary school and open presents (which almost without fail includes something in the Christmas bag. My mom loves her big, plastic Christmas bag).
But I had a hard time getting around the simple fact that we did all of this to celebrate the birth of a mythological savior. A savior I no longer had any faith in. Was I being a hypocrite?
I can tell myself all day that the Church co-opted a pagan holiday to assert its dominance. That the Christmas tree is a pagan symbol. But at the end of the day people aren’t celebrating pagan holidays, at least the crowd I run in. It’s Jesus all the way. Am I selling out by giving in to the allure of my mom’s giant Christmas bag?
I’m culturally Christian. That tends to happen – whether you want it to or not – when you grow up in the Midwestern United States. And Christmas is part of that tradition. The lights, the tree, the truly grotesque blow up lawn ornaments. It’s all part of the package.
I could be cynical and say that I just go where the presents are. But my birthday is Christmas-adjacent, so I get presents this time of year anyway. As I said earlier, Christmas had ceased to be a Christian holiday. Like Valentine’s Day. (Not Easter, though. Easter still has crazy zombie apocalypse with a side of chocolate bunny written all over it.) We’ve created something that folds sentimentality into rabid commercialism. And we love it.
We could probably do with a little less commercialism. But come on. Do you buy presents as a way of worshiping your lord and savior? Me neither. And I never did. The War on Christmas was fought long ago, and secularism won. It’s a brave new world.
Christmas has morphed into something better than a religious holiday. It’s an excuse to relax and take stock of the year. It’s an excuse for families to get together make each other uncomfortable with political conversations. And, if your family is like mine, it’s an excuse to take a little curious nibble off my Quorn Turk’y Roast (it’s goooood). In a way, it doesn’t matter how it started. Christmas is a time to slow down, be with people you love (or sorta like), and try to be happy. And if that isn’t something we should encourage, I don’t know what is.
Featured image credit: YouTube