The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

15 December 2005

Advent? They make speakers, right?

At least in my neck of the woods, the so-called War on Christmas has been a bit oversold, probably because (1) there is an abundance of actual Christians, some of whom qualify as "practicing," and (2) there is a general recognition that the, um, "holiday season" is as inclusive a cultural event as exists in Western civilization.

Even the atheists can join in:

While Christians celebrate the birth of Christ at Christmas time, the holiday has developed into a Western tradition with many aspects — as faithful Christians lament — utterly devoid of religious content. Many devout Christians — some sport bumper stickers of Santa Claus crossed out with a big X — feel that for large segments of society, the meaning of Christmas has become watered down to a godless excess of presents, food, and glittery lights.

It has. Isn't it wonderful?

Atheists like me can go to church concerts to rejoice in the glorious music of the season, delight in picking out special gifts for family and friends, and wish everyone a "Merry Christmas."

But it's much more than a gorgefest with angel decorations. Just because atheists don't believe in a God in Heaven doesn't mean we can't embrace the Christmas message of brotherhood and peace on earth. While we donít believe in the supernatural, we can recognize Christianity's invaluable contribution to human love. That is worthy of celebration every year.

Of course, if you're one of those folks to whom the very mention of Christianity evokes either Pat "I control hurricanes" Robertson or the Spanish Inquisition*, you've probably already gotten your stockings in a wad. Fear of coal, I guess.

I'm as much of a Scrooge as the next guy. However, what differentiates me from that next guy is the fact that I don't consider it a moral imperative to tear down something that appeals to a lot of people in the hopes of currying favor with a few. (First person who says "multiculturalism" is penalized five points for signs of incipient brain death: if we're all in this together, as the It Takes a Village types insist, we do not benefit by going out of our way to emphasize the differences.)

Here's just some of what's going on around town this December. And trust me, no one is going to ask you for a baptismal certificate at any of these locations.

(With thanks to Alan Sullivan.)

* Nobody expected this.

Posted at 8:06 AM to Almost Yogurt

And here I am, a devout Christian who does NOT believe that Christmas is Christ's birth, and doesn't celebrate it that way. Purely secularly, for us. Santa and trees and presents and goodies and Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays -- all the same to me!

Posted by: Jennifer at 3:23 PM on 15 December 2005

I like the Advent readings.

Posted by: Matt at 3:23 AM on 16 December 2005