So we put our Christmas tree up on Saturday and it's looking gorgeous as does the fireplace, actually the living room now resembles something that small children would come to visit Santa in. John and I just vegged on the sofa today watching Monty Python between naps, with all the candles lit and the tree lights on. Was lovely.
Of course as soon as I mention that I had a Christmas tree up to a few people I get the whole "But you're an athiest why do you celebrate Christmas?" So I'll tell ya why.
First of all my family have always celebrated christmas, my mother is a Christmas nut and I'm pretty sure I've caught it from her. I love Christmas, I love the lights and the tree and the family all being together and everyone being in that Christmas mood. But all the things I love about Christmas are not exclusively Christian even the holiday is not exclusively Christian.
It was only very recently that the celebration on the 25th of December was referred to as Christmas Day. It was and still is the winter soltice and was a celebrated day on the celtic/pagan calendar. It was even significant in the Roman Calendar it was called Sol Invictus (I think) The day the Sun proved itself to be unconquered by winter or at least that's the gist of it so the rebirth of the Christ is historically linked (on the record) with the rebirth of the sun in all it's pagan glory. Even today Christmas is still referred to a Yule which was an ancient Scandinavian pagan festival... Yule Log anyone? The Roman Saturnalian Festival was held over 12 which then became the 12 days of Christmas that we sing about in the well know Christmas song. I could go on and on and on and on, the origin of the Christmas tree, the lighting of candles, the original significance of holly and ivy, the giving of gifts....
So while the 25th of December these days is celebrated as a Christian holiday with a Christian name the traditions of peace, goodwill, feasts, family, friends and celebration come from a whole host of other cultures and beliefs. These are the parts of Christmas I celebrate and these things can be found in every culture and in every religion. Christmas celebrates all that is good in human nature whether you think it is god given or innate it is something worth celebrating so that is why I put my tree up every year and take pleasure in giving and receiving gifts and being with my family and listening to Christmas music. Something else I was criticised over was booking tickets to hear Handel's Messiah in Truro Cathedral this year, but I do not have to be religious to appreciate the works of Caravagio or Da Vinci or any other artist with a religious patron nor do I have to be muslim to apprevciate the poetry in the Koran and the same reasoning can be applied to music.
And finally it is the birthday of someone whom I truelly admire. A person who revealed eternal truth, bringing joy to millions, a person who astonished the world with his command over nature and who changed the course of history forever. Happy Birthday Sir Issac Newton.
Something rather mischievous
6 months ago