I have a lot of thoughts this Christmas. It’s been a heckuva year, that’s for sure. From separation to divorce. Job changes. Some freelance. Some botched opportunities on my part. Marital counseling. Counseling. New relationships. It’s all been a bit much. Sometimes I think I should just go lie down for a month or three. But I will survive it all.
Christmas is here. And here are the plans: We’ll do the traditional Christmas Eve at the Crawford Grandparents, then I’ll be staying at Leah’s place with her, her four kids, her roommate Craig – we’ll do a semi-traditional Christmas morning there. Then I’ll be off to my Aunt’s for Christmas afternoon.
I’ve been around Leah with her kids twice now, and it goes pretty well. It’s a different kind of experience, and I certainly want to be smart about it. But there’s no perfection and no simplicity in this type of situation. I’m dating her, not her kids. This is the fact. But these people, well, young people, are a big part of her life, and I have to figure out how to fit in to the picture as a boyfriend. She’s far from any family, so it’s her, and her kids for Christmas.
Christmas brings feelings – old feelings – of religiousness, of the story of Christmas, of this person called Jesus. To me, stories. Stories of incredible power. Stories containing great bits of natural philosophy, but in the end most of them are myths. Ideally, myths which encourage people to be the best they can be to one another. Myths which encourage and sustain lives. Myths which remind us of the amazing power we all have inside us.
It’s at Christmastime that I find myself wishing I was religious. I wish that I could simply accept Christianity or even Religion without analysis. The reality is that my experiences of the miraculous ended when I came to understand death and suffering as banal events. We simply die. It is terrible. To hope that there is a life after is probably wishful thinking. To attempt to believe in a useful supreme being or an afterlife knots my stomach with illogic. I remain agnostic. I will not judge the power that religion has in another person’s life. For my grandmother, my mother, for several aunts, for friends, colleagues — religion is a powerful, comforting force. For me, I find comfort in my fellow human beings. I find comfort in the amazing capacity humans have to love and do good. I have experienced so much pain this year, but for every pain and hardship, I have experienced love and hope too from my friends and family and even strangers.
It is with these thoughts that I wish you all a wonderful holiday season, whatever your creed, whatever your race, whatever your beliefs or nonbeliefs.
Don’t drink too much egg nog, don’t be rude at the mall.