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Thursday, December 22, 2011

My thoughts on Christmas

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I love getting gifts, I love giving gifts, I love decorating, I love cooking, and I love singing traditional songs. While I do think that Christmas has become too commercial and too drawn out (the marketing starts at Halloween now? Really?), I do love what it stands for. I love the whole season.

For Christians, the day stands for the birth of Christ. While I don't believe in Christ as God the Son, nor as a man who died for our sins in order to buy us eternal salvation, I do believe that Jesus existed as an historic figure deserving respect and emulation. Factual accounts of his life lead me to believe that he was a social worker, a volunteer, and a charitable man. A doer of good deeds, a teacher and healer, and a revolutionary. A radical, progressive humanist. A passionate activist. I can get behind all that! While Dec. 25 was not necessarily his birthday, its as good a day as any to celebrate Jesus and the spirit of generosity, kindness, compassion, and pacifism we'd like to assume he represented.

For ancient Pagans, Christmas was something else entirely. Its proximity to Solstice is not accidental, and I still love the Pagan traditions of bringing light to the darkest time, of bringing green growth in from the dead winter, and of celebrating warmth and abundance with yuletide carols and bountiful feasts. I like having something warm, bright, and exciting to look forward to in the darkest week of the year, and I'm very comfortable attaching Solstice and Christmas together in my own mind. I celebrate them both, at once. For me, Christmas is a joyful hybrid holiday representing the best of both Pagan and Christian sentiment. The fact that it stretches from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve, at least, is fine with me.

In the tongue-in-cheek Pastafarian tradition, "Holiday" can be celebrated whenever, however, and for however long one wants. I don't mind celebrating Holiday from Thanksgiving to New Year's, and I don't mind calling it the Christmas season, and I don't mind praying for peace on Earth and goodwill towards men. I don't have to be a Christian to see the beauty in these traditions, and I'm grateful for this opportunity to celebrate.

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