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Thanks for visiting Tinfoil Magnolia, a blog about my life, times, marriage, friendships and all the strange things that happen to me and with me. I hope you find something here that will encourage you, inspire you or at the least entertain you. And if it doesn't today, check back tomorrow because, my life? honestly...

Sunday, December 25

More Christmas Confessions

Well, everyone who has been around Tinfoil Magnolia for a while knows my stance on the holiday season. In case you've forgotten, or don't know, or are new in these parts, here's a link to last year's Christmas Confessions as a refresher. Christmas and I have a complicated relationship. 
I was raised in a "Christian" household. My parents were both really non-religious until they found God and were baptized as adults when I was somewhere around 4 years old. I still remember that night the preacher came to our door and stayed for hours talking to them. I wondered if he'd ever leave because I was tired and wanted to go to bed.
After that, we were packed up each Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday evening without fail to attend the Church of Christ down the block from our house in Franklin, TN. I was sent to kindergarten there. As a kid, I had already been celebrating Christmas as a time to get presents, see Santa, put up a tree, and have big family dinners. The church my parents chose to attend really did nothing special to celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday. No plays or pageants, no manger scene on the front lawn, no special music (they don't believe in instrumental music anyway, all acapella), no Christmas Eve candlelight services. At most, it was recognized in the story of the "virgin birth" being told on Sunday morning.
Although I grew up to be a good Christian girl, studying my bible and attending regularly with my parents, caroling at the nursing homes and to shut ins during high school, and attending Christian college, there still remained in my mind a strange dichotomy about Christmas and the commercial, social holiday versus the religious aspect. 
Time spend in that Christian college pushed me away from religion, and over the years of my 20's, I separated myself from it totally.  I can't quite say I am atheist, mainly because I think it takes too much arrogance to believe 100% either way. I am definitely agnostic, questioning, learning, open, secular and skeptical. One thing I am not is a "Christian", nor do I embrace  the beliefs that go along with it.
So Christmas is a strange time for me. I think more people than will admit it celebrate it as a more commercial holiday. After all, it's really about the spirit of giving isn't it? It's about winter, and hot chocolate and spending time with family. It's about light and Santa and kids full of anticipation and excitement. 
It is also a time of pressure, stress, and going into debt for your kids to have the most and best. This is the part I have trouble connecting to the religious side of it. I just wouldn't think if you believe in celebrating Dec. 25 as the birth of a man who basically lived his life with no worldly posessions, one who went around with whores and lepers and doing good and preaching peace and basically being a hippie for 30-something years.... Oh, and lived in Jerusalem. Then how do pine trees, and gifts, and snow and a mythical figure like Santa Claus fit with this? I just don't know. But I am sure there are plenty of people who can justify it in their minds. I never could.
I was talking with someone at work the other day who knows I don't "do" religion. We talked about caroling to shut ins and nursing homes back in the day. He said, "wow, you were a good little Christian girl, weren't you?" I said, "yeah, what happened?" with a laugh, then added, "I actually still do a lot of volunteering and stuff in the community. You know, even though I am not religious. " To which he laughed and replied, "See? Hedging your bets aren't you? Just in case."
(I won't even go into how offensive this remark is to me) 
Not to sound too Pollyanna, or naive or whatever but I'm not. I'm not doing it for any reward, heavenly or otherwise. I do it, I volunteer, I give, I do, just because it's what we should do. And that's what I told him. "We are all here on this earth together and we are meant to help one another. If we don't, who will?" And I am not trying to be magnanimous or self-serving here. I really truly believe this in a real, humble, and valid way. I believe it with all my heart.
Merry Christmas, Y'all. 


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