I am relieved that the holiday has come and gone. The storm of consumerism has left my home riddled with toys, boxes and trash formerly known as wrapping paper. If I hear one more Christmas Carol I will shoot myself. I overdosed on Christmas and feel as if I will be puking reindeer for the next week.
Although I was steeped in holiday mayhem for the past several days, Jesus was nowhere to be found–unless you count the occasional religious Christmas song that would breach the walls of my atheist stronghold home. Yes, I did not survive without a few wounds. Words like “King of Israel” and Christ the Savior” managed to infiltrate my ear canal.
Overall, it was a very secular holiday, as I am sure it was for many people. Christians act flabbergasted when they hear an Atheist has a CHRISTmas Tree in their home. The decorated tree is a secular symbol. Gift giving is secular unless you think it symbolizes the gifts of the Magi, which I don’t. It existed prior to baby Jesus.
On Christmas eve my family went out to dinner and after we drove through a massive Holiday light show display – which did have a nativity scene, menorah, as well as the Islamic crescent. But that was a small section of the entire light display, obviously planted there so not to offend any believers who passed through the light show. We returned home and watched the holiday classic, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Before bed, I read Twas the Night Before Christmas to the children.
Christmas day itself was filled with more eating, gift giving, travel, family and friends. By the time I arrived home, I was so exhausted, I laid on the couch and read that wonderful holiday classic, 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God by Guy P. Harrison. I am loving this book and will write a review when I finish it.
During the last couple of days I thought a lot about my Christmases growing up Catholic. Mostly when those annoying religious Christmas songs came on the radio. The memories I cherish from my childhood are all secular; the tree, the gifts, the lights, the fake snow that we sprayed onto the windows, Santa, Frosty and Rudolph. In fact, if you ask people to give you the top three things they think of when they think of Christmas I would bet you that Jesus doesn’t make the list.
I never wax nostalgic about going to church during Christmas. Christmas mass was not an option for me growing up. In fact, it was never an option every Sunday and holy day throughout the year. I remember Christmas mass stealing time away from my toys growing up. I would be so excited to play with my new Millennium Falcon I just unwrapped and the next thing I know, I have to get ready for mass. UGH!
What a pain in the ass mass was. The alternative, which we sometimes did was Midnight Mass–the Catholic’s way of getting “this bullshit” out of the way. The problem was that everyone tried to get it out of the way and it was like fucking Woodstock at Midnight Mass. I hated it and I swear the fucking priests would make the mass even more unbearable than normal because they KNEW we just wanted to get this goddamn ritual over with. I do not miss it for a second. And it wasn’t like we were going to experience anything new. The Catholic mass is the same every time you go with the exception of the homily. Occasionally they would add to it–like the masses during Lent when they would do the passion play. They would reenact the trial of Jesus and the parisoners would play the Jews and chant, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Talk about breeding anti-semitism.
Yes, Christmas is much better as a secular holiday. John Hughes knows what a secular holiday needs; love, laughter, family, friends and lots and lots of lights 😉
I hope you had a wonderful holiday no matter how you decided to celebrate it. And unless you are super-religous, I have a feeling the last thing that came to mind was Jesus. Chevy Chase hanging from the roof would come to mind to most before Jesus.