Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Means What?

Christmas presents.
Explaining things to my kid about Christmas and what it really means.

I find myself, the perennial agnostic, wanting to make sure my daughter understands the true meaning of Christmas. Not because I necessarily take it all literally, but because Christmas just can't mean Santa and commercialism and nothing else.

No, Christmas has to mean the hope, and light and goodness of Love, whether it's my love or a greater God's love for her.

I can't just whitewash Christmas into the retail event that Target has managed to do.

I'm VERY cognizant of the fact that Christmas isn't anything religious for everyone, and for me it really isn't either. It's not anybody's fault except maybe my own. I just find it very hard in the long litany of sad events in my life that there is a "plan" for me, and if there is, that it's got much benevolence behind it.

My faith has been tested, and it's failed miserably. I don't feel anger at God. I feel well, separated.

A lot of Christians would get really upset about that. That's often their definition of hell. But no, I'm not in hell. I have quite a happy life. I have given God a big heave-ho on the expectations front. I don't expect anything, and therefore I'm not let down.

And yes, as a good agnostic, I question His very existence all the time. Sometimes I would even dare say I can deny it.

But then Christmas rolls around. I love Christmas services. It reminds me of much of what was right and good about my childhood. One where my Dad the Lutheran pastor preached of the anticipation and excitement of Jesus' birth. Often trying to drag our thoughts as children OFF of Santa Claus for a few minutes, and focus again on the "reason for the season."

In my adult life, I've learned plenty about the fact that this "Season" isn't just Christian, but surrounded by many other festivals and holidays that were there before Christianity. That December 25 is simply an arbitrary date picked out by those who wanted to plant a Christian holiday among heathen ones, perhaps.

But in the end, I just have that one hour in a good old fashioned candle light service where I get to put it aside, and wonder if it all were true, and Jesus really was born as the Son of God here on Earth to forgive sins, or take them away...

What a gift that is.

And while my brain still goes back and forth and back again, I think more about all the other religions, and our similarities and differences, and realize that simply what we all need is more Hope, more Peace, and more Love.

So Merry Christmas people, from my agnostic heart that still wants to believe, even if it's just because it makes me feel better.

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