Why I don't feel guilty about celebrating Christmas
The ungodly vikings celebrated the Jul (Yule) season from December 21st (the date on which the Northern sunset occurs the earliest) until January 6th (the date from which the sunrise starts to occur earlier each day.)
The Christian church usurped the festival, claimed it celebrated the birth of Christ and created the visit of the 3 wise magi to occur on Epiphany, January 6th.
I prefer the Viking celebration. They kept great fires burning and had an extended party, with feasting, and drinking to celebrate the period of the re-birth of the sun.
Religion has usurped too many "pagan" traditions. Let us revert to the originals.
Jewish but like some parts of Christmas (the lights, civic events and trees). What I'm not into are songs like "Little Drummer Boy" or "a child is born"... yeccch. Winter stuff, bells, snow, Christmas Trees and rockin' around them... those are great. Treacly "our baby lord is born" stuff... forget it. Any attempts to turn it into a solemn religious holiday suck.
I have celebrated Christmas all of my life. As a child brought up in a Methodist family. As a young adult who had declared herself an atheist. As a parent of 2 who's spouse was a Christian. And now as a single senior. I don't care about the history and/or the roots of the celebration. What matters to me is the message - peace on earth, good will to man (humans). Christians like to believe they are celebrating the birth of Jesus. Okay. So running with that assumption, I have no problem showing appreciation for the teachings of the man known as Jesus. There are wonderful lessons in the new testament as to how we humans should be treating each other. And this atheist's life reflects more of those moral values than most Christians I know. I enjoy the spirit of the holiday.
I am writing this from a heavily decorated living room, complete with Christmas tree. There are so many secular/pagan elements to the holiday, that you don't have to make it religious if you don't want it to be religious. I see Christmas now as a folk holiday having to do with the coming of winter, and during the dark winter days, the Christmas lights are very welcome!
It's Midwinter! And I want the sun that I complained about so much in the summer. So Christmas, Yule, Solstice, call it what you will, we all need that affirmation.
Of course I am going to have a big meal, with family and lights - just like my Celtic ancestors did for millennia.
We have a figure for the top of the tree we call The Fire Fairy. She is a papier-mâché marche red and gold shape that looks like a human flame and I found in a junk shop over twenty years ago. The kids have always been aware that she represents the light coming back after the dark of winter.
Early christianity used the adoption of pagan festivals, such as the winter solistice celebrations, to wipe out these festivals along with building on pagan sites of worship as a way of preventing the pagans continuing as before. It was religious cleansing, nothing less.
I agree 100% with all of your points of reason. I do want to add one thought of my own though. I believe that the celebration of the holiday we refer to as Christmas, because it is now extremely commercialized and so very many of the original customs have been changed and/or omitted, seems almost atheist friendly. As it is now, I feel that any families that don’t necessarily worship a Christian God should have no shame in celebrating this holiday. We just need to rename the 25th of December as X-Mas.
I love Xmas. Especially the after sales. I love the memories of State Street in Chicago. We would go just to see the decorations. Buy nothing. Always shop the after sales for next years giving. Xmas is a celebration of giving centered around the winter solstice, spawned by the birth of a prophet. That it has become a gratuitous competition of gluttony keeps me in my cocoon away from people as much as possible. I write tax deductible checks to my favorite 501c(3)s.
I hear it but I just can't get on board. I can't say I really miss the holiday, partly because my birthday follows and it was usually forgotten. But mostly because when I proclaimed myself as an atheist, total rejection of Christmas and gift giving/taking was the biggest way to express to my very religious family how serious I was about my beliefs. In my head I know it's very pagan but I just can't separate the Christian symbolism. If I join in the festivities, I don't want people to think I'm a believer.
For me like basically everything I do what I want. I do not need either Christians or Atheists permission or acceptance to celebrate a holiday full of so many conflicting origins/meanings etc. I believe in the idea of love, giving, joy, hope and forgiveness the origin of which whether I or anyone else likes it or not is rooted in my personal background with Christian teachings. My mom is a Christian and I love her for who she is but I also love my best friend who is a avowed Atheist. Both have it were it counts in their actions, their humanity etc. I am far more interested in what people do rather then the reason they do it when it comes to being kind, hopeful, forgiving etc. Too me a asshole Atheist or a asshole Christian are both still at the end of the day assholes. Do I believe in the literal story of Jesus? Too me it like all myths are of value or interest in what they teach. I do not particularly care whether the story is true though separate from the religious aspect as one of many myths I like its story. Just like I like the myth of Horus or Athena, Zeus or Krishna. I love the story of Siddhartha as much as I love the story of Johnathan Livingston Seagull. I have realized recently that I have long outgrown literally believing in any spiritual teachings for two reasons; proof is impossible and proof is irrelevant either way.