The year I left Christianity was the year I began to love Christmas.
Let’s face it, sitting around my grandma’s living room listening to someone read out of the Bible was the low point of Christmas Eve, especially when I was a child and wanted to run around playing with cousins that I hadn’t seen in awhile. When I was freed from the admonition to “keep Christ in Christmas,” the burden of guilt went with it. I no longer had to chastise myself for feeling empty every time I heard the nativity story.
You see, I never experienced Christianity the way everyone around me always said they did. There was no sense of love or comfort, no still small voices, and no answered prayers. Oh how hard I tried, and all I ever felt was a growing sense of hollowness.
That year, I began to enjoy Christmas for what it was, instead of feeling guilty for what I wasn’t.
Santa Claus and presents, homemade desserts galore, decorating a tree … It’s all wonderful fun, and makes for a fantastic celebration with loved ones during the darkest days of the year. It’s one of the best holidays we have, and I adore dedicating an entire month to it.
It reminds us how beautiful life can be.
Unfortunately, I never feel like I’m allowed to explain why I celebrate Christmas despite not being a Christian. I’m far too accustomed to receiving catty criticism every time I try to explain how I see the world, so I’ve learned keep the magic to myself.
But maybe if I share just a little bit, someone else will learn to see this holiday in the same way I do.