“To be pagan and claim personal affront at the idea of Christmas more so than at Ramadan, Yom Kippur or any other Abrahamic or Eastern religion is not an indication of free thought. Indeed it indicates that one is still a slave to one’s upbringing.”
— Randall Wolfe
I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the idea of holiday celebrating this past few weeks. I tend to find much about this time of year questionable. Roads and stores are crowded. People seem a good deal crankier and less likely to smile as they look for the perfect way to express to their loved ones in a material way how they want to be perceived as caring about them. People try hard to maintain their roles in each year’s extended family drama. Kids seem more anxious and stressed about what they are getting and whether they have lived up to some perceived standard of behaviour and will be thus rewarded. The list can go on and on and that doesn’t even touch on some of my religious objections.
I freely admit that I do not subscribe to the Jewish, Christian or Islamic faiths. If I had to describe my beliefs at all it would be as wildly eclectic with strong pagan and thelemic leanings. As most who read this blog know, when it comes to faith and universal understandings I have many many questions and relatively few answers. This is not from lack of knowledge of the different options out there, indeed I have studied many of the world’s religions in farther depths than most of their adherents. Thus the questions arise.
Still I try to find meaning in every day I am alive and I applaud others who do the same. If they do this by connecting within a cultural framework and it means something to them that is awesome. Thus I have no problem exchanging “Merry Christmases” or “Happy Chanukahs” or “Joyful Kwanzas” with those who celebrate and I do not trod on their traditions. It is not my business what anyone else chooses to believe and any reason is a good one to celebrate. I graciously accept presents as tokens that someone thought me worthy of their time and I give such tokens as I have because for some a gift at a particular time of year means “I love you too” in a language that they can understand. If this is hypocrisy than it is a small one that I can live with.
The Northern Hemisphere is about at Solstice. The time of least light and greatest darkness. Many cultures celebrate the return of the light and the progress of the seasons no matter what mythology they attach to it. I wish all a pleasant Yule and solstice and a wonderful re-manifestation out of the dark in whatever form it takes.
Click on images to see full-sized: