As a self-proclaimed Atheist, I have my own particular thoughts on the meaning of Christmas and Christmastime. (I wonder if I could be an ordained Atheist?) On the surface of things, Christmas and Christmastime are about family and giving and receiving and loving and gathering and food and all of those warm, fuzzy, ho-ho-holiday things. Some families do well by these aspects of the Thanksgiving/Christmastime period, some families fail miserably.
On a slightly deeper level, it seems that Christmas is about giving thanks for Christ, the Savior. Giving thanks for being saved is a very important tradition in many Christians’ lives, it seems to me, and it also reminds them that they might not have been saved, had Christ not given his life for their sins. This makes some Christians a bit more generous in spirit during these days. And that is heartwarming, even if I don’t agree with the root cause of the sentiment.
But for me, Christmas and Christmastime is really just one long ass weekend, where everyone else is celebrating and having a good time (or pretending to) and, key thing: not working. No one is working from about the day after Thanksgiving weekend until the day we return from New Year’s.
I mean, sure, some people are getting some things done during that time, but for the most part, business is on holiday time. Emails that would be returned in three days, are not responded to for two weeks or more. Phone messages go unresponded to. It is nearly impossible to get anything done during this time.
This would, I would think, give Atheists a great chance to rest up and recuperate from the year, catch up on reading and generally convalesce. But no, not for this Atheist. This extended business break makes me crazy. For the life of me, I don’t know why I don’t remember that it’s coming every year and plan for it. Instead, it hits me like a ton of bricks and I just get so…destabilized.
And to top it off…just the knowledge that everyone (well, not everyone, but so many people) around me are gathering and being festive while I’m stuck with my Chinese take-out and a movie about Trevor Noah…makes me a bit sad. It actually doesn’t matter that most of my friends are having miserable times with their families. That doesn’t make it any easier. And it wouldn’t be any easier if I were with my family having a miserable time. There’s just something about this time of year, this particular day, that feeling of being left out is so palpable. Like, “Hell, even people who hate their families are with some of them today.”
So, being an atheist, I have excluded myself from a holiday that is meaningless to me and yet I am plagued by the glow of it that surrounds me. I will probably spend most of tomorrow reading, writing, watching movies and continuing to binge watch Six Feet Under. Seems like a perfect Atheist Christmas to me.
And now that I have planned that out, I feel much better about the day already. Thanks for reading.