A special thanks to Janice for stopping by my open forum. Her question for me was to ask me if I celebrate Christmas.
When I was growing up, even all through highschool and college, Christmas was always a very special time for me for a variety of reasons.
Making and eating special christmas-time-only candy treats. [ohhhh, pausing to drooooooool over the memories of all those yummy holiday goodies.!] Let's see "christmas wreaths", "christmas fudge", "christmas mints", "homemade salted nut rolls", "frosted christmas cookies", egg nog. Oooooooh I want it to be December right now!!!!
Putting up all the decorations, candles, holly greens, the tree, the nativity scene. Mom's angel collection. Putting up mom's collection of houses. I LOVE Christmas decorations.
Driving around looking at Christmas lights on people's houses and yards.
Listening to lots of christmas music tapes and then cds. I LOVE christmas music. Sometimes during the summer when I'd get sick of the heat I'd bring out my christmas music to remind me of the snow. Yeah! I HATE the heat. LOVE winter.
Going to the candle light christmas-eve service. Lots of carol singing. No sermon. Holding the candles in the dark.
Playing my flute with my mom while my sister played the piano up at the nursing home where Mom works.
Doing a nightly advent wreath for a good chunk of my child hood, where we'd all gather round the "wreath" light a candle and read a story, sing a song, say a prayer. It kind of petered out during highschool because we got too busy, not enough people home at 1 time.
And of course the excitement of Santa coming on christmas morning and all the presents he'd bring. How hard it was to sleep the night before. Getting up to tip toe through the house and take a peek. Even when we found out that Mom and Dad were Santa, we still got santa presents until I was about 26. Mom and Dad just loved giving us lots of presents.
When I became an atheist, christmas became different. There didn't seem to be a lot of point. And I felt really bad about it. I still miss it. I miss that special feeling that christmas engendered. That inner quiet beauty, sense of light, wonder. Awe that a supernatural being came to earth as a baby because he loved me.
I look back on the list of things I really liked about christmas and a lot of them don't have to be religious. They could be secular. But now that I no longer believe there is a deity...well... it seems like a lot of effort to go through for nothing.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I've "lost the meaning of Christmas". I still listen to the music, still give my kids presents, but the joy of the season is definitely missing.
So- do I celebrate christmas? Only sort of. I still go through the motions and even hit most of the items on the list- except for the daily advent. But it no longer "feels" the same.