Merry Christmas! Since Christmas happens to be on my blogging day for my first year on my blog, I knew I wanted my post to center around my experience of Christmas and the Christmas season. I have been playing around with topics and trying to write this post for a few days, but I couldn’t come up with anything worth more than a paragraph or two, so instead I thought I’d write out some thoughts, experiences, and Christmas traditions that I’ve had, in no particular order.
1. Working in retail has made me hate almost all Christmas pop music. Since my family and I have been listening to Christian Christmas songs every year for my whole life, those are the songs I finding myself liking.
2. When I was a child, participating in the yearly church Christmas program was always a dreaded experience. I had to sit through practices during Sunday School and on Saturday mornings, and learn the words and the motions to songs like “Go Tell It on the Mountain” (which I despise to this day).
3. My church has always had a Christmas Eve candlelight service at 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve, so I’m used to having to go to those and I don’t mind them too much. However, when a new pastor came about 6 years ago, he implemented Christmas morning services and disrupted my family’s tradition of movie-watching and present-opening in our pajamas. Unlike the rest of my family, I don’t see going to church as a fun way of celebrating, and I’m still upset that these services take place every year.
4. My family gets annoyed if anyone says that the real meaning of Christmas is family, love, kindness, gift-giving, or thanksgiving. Because the real meaning is Jesus.
5. My boyfriend bought me copies of the Skeptics Annotated Bible and the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster for Christmas. Thank God for gifts like these!
6. I didn’t know until today that while one account of Jesus’ birth mentions him being born in a manger, the other one mentions that the magi found him in a house. I guess that Jesus being born in a house doesn’t have the same woe-is-me effect that being born in a lowly stable does.
7. I think it’s very interesting to see how defensive Christians get over Christmas because it is their holiday. Like the outrage that Starbucks might have religiously neutral cups, the American Atheists might proclaim that Christmas is better without church, or anyone might tell you happy holidays rather than try to correctly guess which holiday you celebrate. It’s almost as if America doesn’t have one established religion, and Christmas arose as a Christian adaptation of a pagan holiday. Weird.
8. Despite trying to put aside the heavy religiousness of the Christmas season, it’s still a time to reflect, relax, and celebrate everything and everyone that we are lucky enough to have. Just because I don’t agree with my family doesn’t mean that I don’t love them or appreciate having them in my life. Religious differences (especially if only known to one party) don’t ruin strongly rooted relationships. Merry Christmas!