Taking Christ out of Christmas

The holidays are a strange time of year for former Christians. I feel the pang of loss more in December than any other time. Also a strange sense of displacement. Christmas is a happy time where Christians sing their familiar songs of babies in mangers, practice frantically for Christmas Eve concerts and revel in the beauty of symbolism and tradition.
Pastors and religious politicians bemoan “Happy Holidays” and “The war on Christmas” (side note: there is no war. You are just as free to say “Merry Christmas” and put plastic nativity scenes in your front yard as you ever were).
I am not a religious person any longer but I still celebrate the remnants I have left all the while feeling somewhat hollow and fraudulent. We put up a tree and decorate it, bake cookies and buy gifts. We go for evening drives to look at the lights and drink peppermint hot chocolate. There is a big difference now however. The Christ in our Christmas is minimal. I remember this all meaning so much more. It feels somewhat hollow and a little sad now. Now I have to make it mean more from the inside out. Without the built-in trappings of religious tradition.
Or not. I have a choice. And that’s the point.

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