I might be an atheist, but I still rejoice in the holiday season – and for the record, I never get offended when someone wishes me a “Merry Christmas!” In fact, I find it rather disheartening that the holiday season has become so besmirched with talk of banning the word “Christmas” from our lexicon.
Relax, people – and by “people,” I mean those who get their panties or boxer shorts in a bunch over proper holiday greetings. Isn't it the intention that should matter most? If someone wishes an atheist like me “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah” or “Happy Kwanzaa” or “Happy Festivus” or “Happy Holidays,” I accept it in the spirit of the greeting – in the spirit of the season – which, for me, should be more about family, friends, and gratitude than Santa, Jesus, or other ambiguous entities.
When I was a child – an agnostic even then – I relished the holiday season – and not for the presents (although those were much appreciated). It was the lights and the carols (and, all right, the food) that inspired me most. On Christmas Eve, Mom and I would often attend the service at our Unitarian Universalist church in New Orleans – and I remember feeling warm, happy, and sated by the crowded sanctuary, filled with friends of different faiths, all holding candles and singing carols as one. Carols, incidentally, about Baby Jesus and God and other things in which I didn't necessarily believe but that made me nevertheless hopeful – because the words mattered less than the sounds, the feelings, the true meaning of the season.
So, whatever faith you celebrate – and whatever matters most to you at this time of year – I hope you have a relaxing, memorable, wondrous holiday season – and a very happy, healthy, prosperous New Year!
And, with that, I leave you with this hilarious photo of the infamous “gay pride” display on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. See, even Ken dolls understand the true meaning of the season: the joy of being with loved ones, no matter how strangely dressed they might be!
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