I really like decorating for the holidays. Growing up, I always decorated a lot for Halloween and Christmas. Halloween lost its charm for me several years ago, though it has revived a bit. But Christmas was a mainstay. Last year, though, I wasn't really 'into' Christmas so much. Now that I'm some distance from my first realization that Christmas's meaning was likely to shift drastically for me, I'm enjoying the season again without so much concern that it's now a hollow shell of what it was, or that it no longer belongs to me and I therefore am wrong to embrace it, or that celebrating it implies support of religious beliefs I don't share. Its essence remains, and I'd just as soon let the warmth and spirit of the season in rather than push it away because of the religiosity from which it was formed.
I stayed at a friend's house last night which I helped decorate a week or two ago. It was fun to help put out the candles and scented pine cones and to decorate the tree. It did make me long for a family of my own to decorate with someday, but in a more sweet than bitter way, and I enjoyed sharing the festivity with a fellow single friend. I have to say, I love bundling up on the couch in the warm light of a Christmas tree with a snow storm blustering outside. It's magical. And I smiled last night at the red and white and brown on the tree backed by the red-and-white-capped Space Needle in the distance out the window. It looks like a Santa hat on top. Fun.
Ha, I'm listening to my "secular Christmas music" playlist which I had previously separated out to have the real Christmas music for playing on Sundays and most of the season. I've become one of those secular Christmas people. It's different, and I may tweak it over time, but it's still good. And even if I don't necessarily believe the story the holiday is based on, I love the principles it stands for to so many, Christian and otherwise. I'm aware the historical integration of pagan practices and celebration wasn't so much to share as to convert or assimilate, and part of me consciously resists that assimilation, but I'd like to think that today it's a holiday Christians have developed and share with the world to share the spirit of their rejoicing over salvation and God's generosity, and maybe it's OK to celebrate the principles and values of generosity, family, wonder, illumination, and love alongside those whose reasons are religious. Rationale aside, I like the season, and I think I'll keep it for now.
So, from this agnostic, Merry Christmas!