Thanksgiving is over, and for many people, this means the start of the holiday season. For most people here in the Midwest, it means Christmas time. As many people know, Christmas is the Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus.
Despite being a religiously based holiday, Christmas has become the most materialistic and commercialized time of year. Many consumers can’t wait to start their shopping until after Thanksgiving anymore.
I grew up in a family that loved to celebrate Christmas. I have memories of being in the Christmas Story plays at our church, and looking back, I know that I loved every moment. It all gave me a sense of warmth and happiness that I have never been able to forget.
After moving from my small hometown, where my family practiced a strong faith, I began to grow apart from this strong faith. I started to question my beliefs in God and the idea of any all-powerful deity, but something never changed: my deep love for the Christmas season.
It wasn’t until earlier this year that I realized my feelings about religion were relatively clear. I do not believe in the God that my family has held so dear for all of my life.
I am an atheist.
But, I love Christmas.
Though it may be contradictory, I enjoy almost every part of Christmas time in my family. I am talking and thinking about Christmas as soon as Halloween is over, because I am so excited to start celebrating this beautiful holiday.
Decorating the tree, baking cookies, and spending time with my friends and family are the things that I hold most dear, because they give me a warm feeling that I only get this time of year.
Though the holiday is rooted in the Christian faith, the true spirit of Christmas is spreading love and joy to any and every one, something that any person can do.
Atheism tends to get a bad reputation. We are often viewed as less caring or empathetic because we do not hold the same “values” as devout religious individuals, but this is something that is far from the truth.
You do not have to believe in a higher power to be a good person.
You do not have to be religious to spread love to people of all backgrounds and faiths.
I do not celebrate Christmas because I think it is important to remember the birth of Jesus, I celebrate because it gives me a chance to spread love to all of the world and know that the world is willing to accept the love and generosity.
Enjoy the holiday and continue to spread love, regardless of your religious beliefs.