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Oh Come, All Ye Faithless! November 30, 2008

Posted by sociallyacceptableinsanity in Atheism.

In the spirit of the season, I have a little confession to make.  I love Christmas carols.christmas_carolers

Yes, even the really religious ones.  Actually, those are my favorite, though not because of their religious nature.

First, I had best explain my feelings about Christmas, since this may be a little confusing to some.  Though I am an atheist and therefore do not believe that Jesus was the son of god,  I still celebrate Christmas.  My atheist parents did not deprive their children of Christmas trees and presents under it, of letters to Santa Claus and the wide-eyed anticipation of his bounteous arrival, or of any of the other customary trappings of Christmas.  We children were of course aware that the season was, ostensibly, a celebration of Christ’s birthday, but we were also aware that it was a celebration of much more.  What more could there possibly be, I can hear the Christians amongst us grumbling?

Christmas is, for me, a celebration of family, of tradition (which need not be of the religious variety), of love, of wonder, of renewal, of winter, of hope, of giving, of childhood, and, though this may sound odd, of music.  “Christmas: The Season” is inextricably entwined with “Christmas:  The Carol” in my heart and in my mind, and in big, capital, italicized letters to boot.

The best Christmas carols are the old ones, of course.  Those written in the 18th and 19th centuries are my favorite.  They are either stately and grand or sprightly and humble, but they always make me feel like a child again.  There are a few 20th century gems such as “White Christmas” or “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” but they are the exceptions to the rule.

Does the religious nature of most Christmas carols bother me?  Not in the least.  I think we should focus on the feeling that the music gives us, not the words being sung.  Whether you believe in a god or not, you just can’t help feeling good when you hear a Christmas carol.  

And as for the truly modern Christmas carol?  If I had my way Mariah Carey, Bon Jovi, and all of the other thousands of idiots who wish to sell records would be struck permanently mute the minute they attempted to write anything that made one single reference to Christmas or Santa Claus.   

Don’t mess with the Christmas carol, that’s all I’m saying.



1. Dale McGowan - December 1, 2008

Right on the money. I never had trouble celebrating Christmas nonreligiously — in fact, my religious friends often have to put out some real effort to draw that connection. (And I’m also a big fan of the carols.)

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