Solstice stories: the agnostic's Christmas letter
Every year on Christmas Eve I look for a way to express love. For years I felt, as the non-religious sort, the true import of this holiday was a bit lost on me, but continued celebrating in my own way.
domesticat.net now chronicles fully a quarter of my existence on this earth, and combining that with a search function often serves to bring the arc of my life into clearer, simpler focus.
Other people focus solely on Christmas, but the entries of the past eight years tell me that this period of the year, this time of shortened days and year-end celebrations, matters as much to me as that one single day matters to most of you reading this entry. I am not celebrating a religious event, but I am using the excuse of darkened, chilly days to re-evaluate my place in this life and the people I share it with.
I light words against the darkness, and leave them for you to find. Here are two images from Christmas Eves come and gone:
In the end, most of us still have it right: when we think of this holiday we think not of the gifts, but the people we shared those gifts with. Lose someone you care about, and you will think about them during the holiday season for the rest of your life.
The weight of memory can be difficult to bear, so difficult that sometimes we lose track of how precious the people still in our lives are to us. Those of us who mourn for what was once, without celebrating the now, tend to forget that as of next year, this day falls into the category of “what was.”
On this holiday, celebrate what is. By all means, remember those you have lost, but celebrate those who are still in your life.
Tonight, I may or may not have the mug of hot chocolate, since I won’t be at home, but you’ll be in my thoughts.
- What was and what is, Christmas Eve 2004
I realize that we must respect and honor the many ways that people choose to [not?] celebrate the Christmas season, but I did a bit of online research just now and have conclusively determined that food poisoning is not a way of celebrating Christmas in any culture.
- The house with no cookies, the day before Christmas Eve 2003
I could not have imagined you, all of you, in all your contradictions and contrariness and complexity, and I am grateful that I could not, for I would have learned less had I anticipated more.
- Orion’s gift, Christmas Eve 2005
I’ve temporarily moved that entry back to the front page. I got it right that year.
For each of you, and whichever holiday you’re celebrating … I’m glad you’re here.