Friday, December 12, 2014

Blogmas Day 12: CHRISTmas

HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYBODY! Finals week is officially over! Throw a party, lose your mind, let your hair down! Or if you're me, spend one last night in your dorm room before departing for winter break tomorrow morning, watching The Little Rascals and eating Christmas cookies. Both options are just as viable.

Today I turned in my final paper for my Religions of the World class, and my professor had us all stay for an informal Q&A about his beliefs. I was tempted to leave after turning in my paper, but honestly I'm happy I stayed because he offered some really interesting insight about religion that I identified with. That lead me to having a long conversation with myself about this time of year that I want to share with you all.

One thing in particular that my professor said was how he plans on raising his 2 year old daughter in regards to faith: he said because he's not inherently religious he won't be raising her that way. He said they'll celebrate Christmas and Easter, but instead of going to church and focusing on the inherently Christian aspects of the holiday, it'll be more about the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. A lot of people get super up-in-arms about that, but I think that's totally valid. Honestly, that's kind of how I identify.

As I mentioned early on in Blogmas, I'm not inherently religious, so Christmas isn't a very religious holiday for me, and that's totally okay. To backtrack a little bit: I believe in God and I believe in Jesus as the divine Son of God, and I acknowledge that Christmas is the celebration of Jesus's birth, but that's not that big of a deal for me. I know a lot of people are very adamant about Jesus being "the reason for the season," and I think that's great, but what's so bad about a secular Christmas?

For me, Christmas is about decorating the tree with my parents in my pajamas. It's about digging up ornaments I made when I was in elementary school and putting lights in the bushes out front. It's about how happy it makes me to find the perfect gifts for my loved ones, knowing it's not about the gift itself, but about communicating my love and appreciation for them. It's about singing along to my favorite contemporary holiday songs and watching festive movies on ABC Family every night. It's about making cookies with my mom in the kitchen and lamenting about years where I couldn't reach the counter. It's red Starbucks cups and keep my hands warm and my heart happy. It's genuinely such a jolly, special time of year where people are just a bit friendlier. If I can feel that lively and happy regardless of a religious connotation, who's to say I'm "celebrating wrong"? If you ask me, as long as you're spreading joy there's no wrong way to celebrate the holidays.

Because if I'm totally honest, I don't feel comfortable or content participating in religious Christmas activities. I never went to church growing up, and though I was baptized Catholic I have no tender feelings toward the church. Attending mass never makes me feel connected to anything, and I spend the entire hour impatiently awaiting its end. I don't see a problem with that.

It's not like this time of year is all about getting presents and spending money for me, either. I mean sure that's an aspect of it, and I won't lie and say I don't like gifts under the tree, but that's a minor detail. It's more about spreading love and spending time with those most important to me. If I want to put a Christmas tree up in my house and sip hot cocoa while I watch The Grinch, that shouldn't be your business. As long as I feel complete and still look forward to Christmas every year, my beliefs should not be of others' concern.

So please guys: can we stop looking down on people who don't "put the Christ in Christmas"? If you do: awesome. If you don't: awesome. You do you.

I hope you all have a great night and I'll see you tomorrow!

"Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas." -Calvin Coolidge

x,
Lauren

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