While Christians around the world are decorating Christmas trees, singing Christmas carols and buying gifts to place under the tree, many Atheists also get in on this age old tradition. Many Christians believe that Christmas in the modern day is more about capitalist gain rather than Jesus and perhaps this is true, but even truer than that is the fact that to many atheists and non-Christians who grew up in Western countries, this is a part of their culture as much as anyone else’s.
Hearing “Away in a Manger” or being moved by the smell of a fresh Christmas tree is just as much a part of an atheist’s culture as it is a Muslim’s, Buddhist’s or Christian’s. It seems that while Christmas definitely has a strong consumerist edge to it, it also has a multi-denominational family belonging to it. Christmas is now more of a cultural experience than a religious one and often a nostalgic one at that. When you grow up in a country where Jingle Bells and mistletoe are the norm every December, how could it not pull heartstrings for a lifetime to come?
I have had friends and family over the years who have been devout Jews, Hindus, Buddhists or Muslims, yet every Christmas they have still had their Christmas parties and feasts, beautifully decorated trees on display, and plenty of gift opening to go around on Christmas morning.
In the view of a Christian, Christmas is about sharing, caring and love, the birth of baby Jesus, the son of God… but as with all religions, everything is open to interpretation. So, whether you choose to celebrate Christmas with a bible in your hand, or you choose to celebrate it for the gift giving and family-time, the truth is, all people who celebrate Christmas, atheists included, use it as a time of love, sharing and caring as intended. It is a time of family, a time to show love, share food, give unconditionally, and smile. So whichever way you put it, and whichever way you choose to interpret it, it seems that all people celebrating Christmas have the same reasons and truth at heart, and the same unconditional love… and isn’t that what it’s all about?
Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow
Edited by Jesus Chan
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