A Skeptic's Christmas


Immense pressure to squeeze in every possible amount of joy, even if the effort takes the fun out of the moment.

Sweeping up pine needles.

Singing, "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas" and wishing I were. Singing,"I'll be home for Christmas" and wishing that were a good thing.

In my earlier Christmases I remember Mama cooking (except for that one year she cried all day, the same year I was missing by noon of that day), Daddy watching football and Laura reading. Me playing in the backyard with one of the many cats that inhabited our lives during the course of my childhood. Wishing Christmas was a holiday so all of my friends could come out and play. Christmas was always for family, no outsiders, no foreigners and no strays. Nowhere for me to go.

I've never felt Christian per se, never even thought of myself as Christian. Never went to church on Christmas. I think of Christmas as more of a pagan thing, a celebration of winter solstice or something. I happen to believe that this Jesus guy was no savior, just a good character in a pretty weird book. Sure, the man really existed but so did King Tut and what do we really know about him? I think I would more enjoy a holiday in honor of King Tut's birth than that of Jesus.I think the original authors of the Bible were out to make a buck, or a ducat or a new loin cloth, and they did not want to cloud the issue with facts and therefore included very few. They were looking for an idealogical best seller and a way to control the masses. Then there's King James and his band of red-pen-wielding clergymen wh damn near rewrote the tales to their own liking. Ah, forget it. Christmas, I don't even get it. I like all the parties and wellwishing with my friends, but I don't like the pressure to hug family members I've never liked. I'm trying to like Christmas but it's hard to look forward to a season that is demanding, stressful and sometimes filled with empty days in icy towns where I know no one except a single family member and a stray cat.

I'm going to start my own traditions and they will include palm trees and shiny, rising mercury.

--Amy McCutchin

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