The start of it all is that I believe in God. Of course, I started out as a child being taught...some would argue, indoctrinated...that there was a God and that included moral precepts and standards. Well, I grew up in a disciplined home where there were rules and there were consequences when the rules were broken. I didn't much like that...then. But as a grew up, even in my teens, I came to appreciate the presence of rules...and of consequences.
When young, God...and religion...was represented by men and women: Ministers and teachers who claimed to tell me what God wanted and what was right and wrong. I didn't much like it...I had other ideas...often. But when those "adult" representatives of God were proven to be less than honorable, honest, and consistent, I came to be an agnostic. I spent years exploring other established faiths and religions. I found much to admire...and the same failings in all of them: People ran them seemed to get in the business of profiting from declaring God's Will.
I came finally to a point where God and I seemed to work out a dependable relationship...as long as I didn't allow other human beings to get in the way. All organizations, including and perhaps especially religions, lose their way and purpose over time and become more interested in their own power rather than in helping people find, know, and communicate with God.
But through it all was Christmas. A time when all the people with whom I came in contact were happier, more kind and seemed to re-set their moral compass...for a time. At least until mid-January.
Everyone uses Christmas for something different. Evangelicals use it to re-focus their hearts and souls in the manner of their belief and hold all the various symbols of the time of year dear: the creche, the tree, the star of Bethlehem, the Wise Men and all the rest are dear to them, as they are to the other Christian faiths. To Atheists Christmas is just as important, as they point to the pagan elements that have been folded into the Christmas Story and the probability that Jesus was not born on Christmas as proofs of their point of view. And Businesses love Christmas because it promises increased sales and profits. Those lukewarm about Christmas as a religious occurence even love it because it means time off and a paid holiday.
Christmas, however, for me has become an opportunity to sit back and ponder on my belief in God and to appreciate the guidance that, when I take the time to listen for and to it, has benefited me all of my life. I don't worry about the proofs about the Bible...or Christmas...or Science in general; my life experiences have unexplained events that can be explained by no other concept than God exists and...my age and experience notwithstanding...I can always benefit from guidance from a higher source.
I have discounted those who argue humanism as a guiding standard; humans have proven themselves over the ages to be notoriously inhuman to their fellow man at the most trivial of excuses. The natural tendency of man is to be narcissistic and care not a wit for anyone unless there is self-benefit involved. So...the only excuse for those who act with love and kindness toward others is that they are guided by God.
But, while I criticize often what I decree to be the excesses of the Christmas Season, I do not really object too much. Whatever the motivation, the more people who support the celebration of Christmas, the better. I want that opportunity to sit back and reflect on the year, my decisions, my foibles and my good fortune to remember... albeit all to seldom...to sit back and listen to that small voice before embarking on any significant effort.
It is the idea...the Faith...in Christ and in Christmas Spirit that sets me up to start yet another year. Other points of view are fine with me...as long as I am not forced to embrace them: I won't proselytize and I will not allow other to proselytize me in return.
Merry Christmas to all.