I e-mailed my step-brother, who lives in Chicago and is (I think) a pantheist, and asked if he was coming down for Christmas.
He replied back, with exclamation points I might add, that he does not celebrate the holidays and he was surprised that I did.
Little back story here: Not too long after I deconverted I was chatting on FB with my step-brother. He was telling me that he was trying to figure out some religious stuff and was really thinking about it and knew he was not Christian but didn’t quite know what he believed. He asked me if I ever struggled with my belief? Ha! He had no clue and I really surprised him when I told him I was an atheist. He never really conformed to the beliefs of the rest of the family and at one point, several years back, I tried to show him that Jesus was the truth, the light the way. Obviously I didn’t convince him.
Anyway, he was surprised that I celebrated Christmas, even though he knew I did last year. Maybe he thought that was just for show for the rest of the family? He wanted to know why? Why would I celebrate a holiday that is about worshiping and idol?
This is what I told him.
Though our family is Christian Christmas at our house has never really been a big Jesus deal. We have never really talked about it on Christmas and the only thing that we have ever done is someone has prayed before the meal. That will continue and myself, the kids and the AH will be respectful of what the rest of the family wants to do. We don’t have to pray or close our eyes, but we do have to allow others to do so in their own home.
I love the holiday’s and I enjoy spending them with all my family. That won’t change. The only thing that has changed will be what the holiday means to me and what I tell my kids it means.
He says he’s not buying it. Whether it be Santa or Jesus an idol is an idol and he doesn’t want to celebrate it. I’m cool with that. If you don’t want a present I’m down with that, but if you are deliberately staying away from the family because you don’t want to worship idols,even though my house will be praying to no one or thanking no one, then you are only isolating yourself.
He went on to tell me he can’t come anyway due to work obligations, but I was welcome to visit Chicago anytime.
I know some Christians get worked up because it’s “their CHRISTmas”, but I don’t know of any atheist or non-believers who do not celebrate it with their family, whether they are Christian or not.
So, I’m still celebrating Christmas. I’m still saying Merry Christmas or Happy Holiday’s it doesn’t matter to me. I just want to see my children light up with joy and excitement over the decorating and presents and the food and the family. We won’t be telling any birth of Jesus stories or attending any Christmas church services but we will be making about family and giving and excitement.
How about you?