It’s Christmas, Mind If My Family Borrows Your Religion?

I'm not a religious person, except when I'm getting ready to board an airplane. Then I pray like hell. But other than that, I don't really believe in a higher power. I live by The Golden Rule and am teaching my kids to do the same. I believe in charity, being kind to old people and animals, saying please and thank you, and treating everyone the same regardless of group, class, or category. I'm pro-choice, and have a very hard time believing that if there is a God, they give one damn about people falling in love and wanting to spend their lives together even if those people are the same gender. I don't pray, or attend services, or read the Bible. But the second the holidays roll around I'm putting my kids in their Sunday best and dragging them off to church. 

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I'm worse than a Cafeteria Catholic; I'm a Christmas co-opter.

I think most people would say I should just find a nice Unitarian Universalist church and be done with it, but I have interest in attending church only during the holidays. I love evening services where the choir sings "O Come All ye Faithful" and the pews are decorated with red bows and holly sprigs. I love the story of Christmas, the angels, the shepherds, the wise men and the Magi, and even though I may not believe in Jesus, I find great comfort in the idea that once upon a time a carpenter found refuge in a manger with his pregnant wife. 

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I think I basically believe in the Linus monologue during A Charlie Brown Christmas. 

When I was growing up, schools still put on Christmas pageants. We sang carols with our choir, and our parents and relatives would all come watch as we sang "Frosty The Snowman" and "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas." My kids don't have this. Schools no longer celebrate Christmas, and we can't even send in holiday cookies with trees on them -- everything has to be simply winter-themed, stars and snowflakes. I do think that there is a place for all faiths in schools during the holidays, and I would happily let my kids celebrate Hanukkah and Kwanzaa in addition to Christmas. I can understand why schools no longer allow this so no one feels left out, but part of me is wistful when the holidays roll around. I know I can't have my Christmas plays and then fuss if anyone talks about Jesus and sinning during class hours, but I do miss seeing kindergarten kids stumbling through carols while a piano plays accompaniment. 

We attend churches with friends of our family when we are invited, and we always donate when the collection plate is passed around. We won't show up the following Sunday, but we will sit with strangers and bask in the glow of what the holidays mean to us, peace on earth and goodwill toward men. I'll let my kids explore all religions when they are ready and decide if church is important to them. But in the meantime, I'll borrow a congregation for Christmas. 

 

Image via YouTube

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