Archive for December, 2011

An Atheist Christmas – Joy to the Whirled

December 29, 2011

I love Christmas and I’m not a Christian. I wish people a “Merry Christmas!” because I approve of the message – be merry.  I love my family and this is the season I get to show that love without getting funny looks. This is when silly gifts and schmaltzy sentiments are completely acceptable along with It’s a Wonderful Life and Vince Guaraldi piano soundtracks.  I’m not part of the “war” on Christmas. When I’m in a store and the clerk wishes me “Happy Holidays!” I’m happy. When politicians light the “Holiday Tree” I’m not offended.

To those who rail against these efforts please rethink your position then thank your politician for a creative end-around the separation of government from religion. By doing so they can use state money to maintain tradition without tying it to any religion. Remember the Yule tree got its start with old Norse paganism (and the Saxons sang and toasted their trees – wassailing). Trees, singing and toasting make people happy and merry so Christians renamed it to keep the tradition around, why not politicians?

Just in case you want some of the history leading to our modern tradition in musical form here it is fittingly set to the tune of “Oh, Tannenbaum”:

Please note that based on our founding documents and proud Puritan heritage, we should not even be celebrating Christmas – It’s un-American! The George III that introduced this tree via his German wife is the same one we sent that long list of grievances to back in 1776. Prior to that the Puritans banned the entire celebration because of its roots in pagan woodland worship. Understand that no matter how many “He’s the reason for the season” bumper stickers I see, this holiday will still predate Jesus – big time! As sure as the sun comes up and the earth’s axis wobbles, Christmas and all the other holidays from times and cultures in memoriam that occur around the winter solstice do so because that’s when things shift from the day getting constantly shorter to longer. Hallelujah! People like sunlight and more of it makes us happy … and merry.

So I’ll wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Ramadan, Inti Raymi, Shabe-Yalda, Saturnalia, Yule, the Long Night, start of Winter… How ‘bout “Season’s Greetings?” Will that make you happy?

Thanksgiving and Facebook Rolled Together 2011

December 5, 2011

It was the warmest in November on record in Worcester, I just grilled burgers on my deck in December and that’s enough to make me thankful. But it’s just the beginning and as the infomercial says, “WAIT! There’s MORE!”

What more can there be?  Besides pulling off the wedding of the century for my daughter (Prince, welcome to the family); having my son just a short drive away in Cambridge (skull fracture cost him a sense of smell, but knocked enough sense into him to have him move out of DC); a wife recovering well from knee surgery and my having a job; there are all of you on Facebook – my family, friends and interweb neighbors. I’m thrilled when the day isn’t going well and someone posts that funny kitty/doggy/baby video, – LOL, OMG, LMAO and all that ;-). I know my high school friends don’t look like the way I remember them thanks to all the photos posted (except for Doug – I don’t know who he promised his soul to, but give me a call).  I share your travels, kids’ graduations, holiday gatherings and birthdays. I contemplate your surgeries and passing relatives. Some of you make comments that make me laugh, some of you piss me off, many do both and for all of you, I’m thankful. My friends don’t have to agree with my viewpoint or politics to still be my friends.

And that is the thing I have learned: friends challenge an idea and it makes me think, to hone my argument or do more research on the particulars to better understand it. And, hopefully, be better able to demonstrate the error in your thinking or mine so we both have a better understanding.  These days I’m into consensus. I want to take the advice of Addicus Finch and walk around in the other guy’s shoes. I’m into finding middle ground.  I’m into starting a trend that shifts our current clamor of “every man for himself “ back to “all for one and one for all.” But maybe that’s a little too “socialist” right now. E Pluibus Unum.