I am, perhaps regrettably to others, without the ability to take some things on faith. That is to say, I have faith in science. I have faith in the abilities of my brain. I have faith in the abilities of my son’s brain. I have faith that the sun will rise (and I equally have faith that I will not see it, for I live in Washington and here there is a permanent cloud layer from October to April). “Faith” is defined in Merriam-Webster several ways, including: 1. allegiance or fidelity to a person or duty, 2. belief in God or religious doctrines/a firm belief in something in which there is no proof, and 3. something believed with an especially strong conviction.
So this post, then, is about that #2: firm belief in something in which there is no proof/belief in God/religious doctrines. Like most “simple” words (note: there are more definitions for small, “simple” words like “set” than there are for long, obnoxious ones like “onomatopoeia”. Check it out for yourself) this requires checking into what “proof” means, and that is defined in the MW as “the cogency of evidence that compels acceptance by the mind of a truth or a fact b : the process or an instance of establishing the validity of a statement especially by derivation from other statements in accordance with principles of reasoning”. Well that certainly clears things up.
What I am writing here is that I am devoid of the ability to believe in something that does not have a solid foundation of evidence or has not gone through a process to establish its validity. I believe the sun will rise tomorrow because it’s been doing it on this planet for some 5 billion years and I believe the science and the methods used to determine that. This does not mean that if Aliens blow up the Sun tonight I will have been wrong — that’s what’s called introducing new data and would require a new scientific review. Unfortunately, a small side effect of Aliens blowing up the Sun is we’d all kinda be dead.
I digress (always).
What I’m getting to is Why Then Does Bobbie Celebrate Christmas? (Bobbie, it should be noted, celebrates the following holidays in some form or fashion: New Years’, Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day, 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. Bobbie will gladly participate in your celebration of Hanukkah, Solstice, etc. Bobbie thankfully takes the day off presented at Presidents Day, Memorial Day, and Labor Day, and really and truly does reserve a moment of those days to thank those nameless (and named) who have served and sacrificed. Bobbie does not acknowledge the existence of Valentines Day).
So if I have no faith, why celebrate a holiday *built on faith*. The very idea of it is a prophecy culminated in the birth of a child to newlywed yet somehow chaste parents, and that child grew to be Jesus Christ, and he was nailed to a cross for living in what amounted to a non-free-speech state, and he purportedly rose 3 days later and thereby proved his status as the son of God (and also God and also the Holy Ghost). Schizophrenia jokes aside, this is not what I celebrate when I celebrate Christmas. I could start by pointing out the new spring lambs referenced in the Bible probably had no business being around December 25th at the time of birth and it’s far more likely he was born in Spring, but that would have messed up with that whole Catholic-Church-Taking-Other-Peoples-Holidays-For-Easier-Assimilation thing. I could also point out that the Romans kept meticulous tax records (our IRS has nothing on them from what I understand) and yet there is no Jesus or Yeshua etc. in the areas he was supposed to be at that time. Perhaps he was also got for tax evasion? At any rate, no I do not celebrate that Christmas. You are absolutely, totally, and completely welcome to. I personally like the way Churches get all dolled up for the occasion and actually liked going when I did.
I celebrate the one with Santa Claus. And Reindeer. And getting a large tree (fake or real, your choice) got up in the gaudiness apropos to a 1970’s disco dancer. I celebrate the making *and burning, occasionally* of cookies, of lax gym use, of exchanged fruitcakes and dubious stocking stuffers. I celebrate the silliness of a jogger in her Santa hat and sleigh bells on her shoes (hi, Christine!), of family photos posted in seriously cute sweaters, of Norskie brunches (hi, Mindi!) and a plethora of baked goods coming in to the office and into homes (hi, Jim!). I celebrate the lights people decorate their houses with, of two weeks off of school, and the casual observations of frenetic shoppers. I celebrate the adventures of new families (and growing families) as they navigate the season, baking and prepping for days of delicacies and fun (hi, Ali!). I celebrate your best friend calling to inquire if she can in fact get the missle-firing droid robot with extra death-kill stuff for your son, because she spoils him every year (hi, Candie!). I celebrate folks who have the sanity to leave and celebrate it somewhere else (hi, Cindi!) and folks who are willing to celebrate even though they swore, they absolutely swore, they would never do it again (hi Jeff!). I celebrate a time where you can ask your coworkers, family and friends to donate money or toys or food to complete strangers, and even if they have already done it, this season, they will do it again (hi, Expedia Stairing is Caring team, and your $3000+ raised for kids!!).
Most of all, though, I celebrate a time of year where it is *expected*, almost demanded, that you are a better person. This is the time of year that you at least have to pretend to be nice, to care about your fellow man, to do the Right Thing. You may do it all year round — or you may do it this once, as a sort of Red and Green Yom Kippur. But you do it, because it is What Is Done. For about two weeks every year, people, for the most part, are Who They Should Be. They may be crowded in elevators but they’re smiling, they may be racing through Target but they’re making way for others, they may be frustrated in the baking aisle but offering recipe tips.
I celebrate that. And maybe *that* is what others celebrate, and maybe not. What do you celebrate?