Effect Measure

It’s not just Sunday, but it’s Christmas Eve. Time for my annual In Praise of Christmas Sermonette. Because, yes, I am a big fan of Christmas. As a proud member of the godless, I am not a bit embarrassed or chagrined. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a lovely secular holiday. I’ll explain why, but I also know the winter holidays can be a difficult and sad time for many people. The darkness of the season and the emotional freight of family associations contributes, no doubt. My views are not even shared by everyone in my own family. So this is not meant to be why everyone should like Christmas. It’s why I like Christmas.

For me (and many millions like me), Christmas is a secular holiday. I realize this is cause for handwringing around and about, but for me it is cause for celebration. I like just about all of it. The kitsch, the commercialization, the lights, the corny music. So what if “they” are manipulating me and everyone else to go out and buy something to make someone I care about happy or pleased. So they make money off of me doing something nice for someone else. So what? Better than they make money killing people. Even this Prince of Peace stuff is good. Sure, there’s no Prince, but a holiday whose theme is Peace on Earth, Good Will to All has got a lot going for it as far as I’m concerned. The bogus War on Christmas aside, nothing much wrong with wishing the best for people, even perfect strangers, whether it’s by saying Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas or Happy Kwanza or who cares what. You’re wishing them well. Even perfect strangers.

I insist on a tree every year, despite the fact that Mrs. R. tries to dissuade me. I like Christmas trees. We have ornaments our kids made when they were in school. They’re grown now, but I still like the ornaments. Grown or not, it’s a wonderful holiday for kids, yours or someone else’s. No school, with any luck a present or two. I think at least one of my kids believed in Santa Claus (aided and abetted by me, I’ll admit) until she was an early teen, and I’m not sure she abandoned it even then, just said she did. Now she’s a mom-to-be herself.

I’m with her. I’m not sure I’ve given up on Santa, either. For me, that’s the difference between Santa Claus and God. I still think there might be a Santa Claus.

So my very best to all of you and Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays/Whatevuh. And now you know I mean it.

May Peace come in our lifetimes — and soon.

For The Reveres, Christmas Eve, 2006

Comments

  1. #1 Peter McGrath
    December 24, 2006

    You too, and thanks for a year of informating, entertaining and thought-provoking writing.

  2. #2 carl
    December 24, 2006

    I appreciate your comments greatly Revere. My best to you and your family.

  3. #3 M. Randolph Kruger
    December 24, 2006

    God bless you Revere and the missus. I can hardly wait for the young grandchild to hammer you for Xmas!

    Have good and safe one, and everyone else for that one. Going to SNOW in Memphis tommorow. Third time in 65 years. Zowie!

  4. #4 Nancy
    December 24, 2006

    An actual discussion with my 8- and 11-year-old children as we ran errands yesterday…

    8-year-old: Santa is a Christian I think.

    11-year-old: No, I think he’s Jewish.

    Me (Feeling completely remiss at not clarifying this sooner!): No, no, no! Santa is a secular–

    11 y.o.: Humanist?

    :) Merry Christmas to all!

  5. #5 Patch
    December 24, 2006

    Not believing in Christ, but enjoying Christmas is a bit like a vegetarian extolling the virtues of being meat-free and then enjoying a steak.

    Thank you for celebrating Christ’s birth with us!

  6. #6 revere
    December 24, 2006

    Patch: Or maybe like enjoying a veggie burger?

  7. #7 Darin
    December 24, 2006

    Christmas, like religion and science (and I may catch hell for this, but do think about it), is an agreement on the way things are. I’m part of the big arbitrary agreement that celebrates whatever you want with family, fun, food, a chanukah bush (Douglas Fir this year, no cranberry and popcorn, colored lights, lightly sprinkled with special ornaments).

    I’m also of the popular agreement that this is the time of year to hoard enough chocolate in the house to last till a rabbit delivers chicken eggs, also another great excuse to celebrate with family, fun, food, and a… =)

  8. #8 Sam Dawes
    December 24, 2006

    Thanks for the peaceful sentiments about this holiday. We need this more this year than most and I, too, wish the Revere family the best for the coming year.

  9. #9 Tony P
    December 24, 2006

    This is the first year we didn’t set up the tree. I guess having my paternal grandmother die on Christmas day last year finally put the final damper on the holiday.

    Oh we’ll have a nice meal tonight, and tomorrow my SO and I will have dinner with my aunt, uncle and cousin and his very pregnant wife. My aunt (She was 12 when I was born) is a very cool person, and and excellent cook! My cousin is a fellow I.T. geek, and the SO and his wife get along well.

  10. #10 Tejas
    December 24, 2006

    Happy Holidays to Everyone, and thank you, Reveres, for the great issues, information, discussions, and rejoinders. I look forward to more in 2007.

    May peace prevail, secular or otherwise, and soon!

  11. #11 Quinn
    December 24, 2006

    Thank you to the Reveres for this blog and thanks to all who leave comments. May all of you have a fun time celebrating whatever you celebrate!

    And may we all have a safe and healthy and happy 2007!!!!!

  12. #12 Mike
    December 24, 2006

    Yuletide greetings to you all. (Patch: no, it’s thanks to the Christians for moving their celebration to match up with the ones everyone else was having already)

  13. #13 The Ridger
    December 24, 2006

    Good Yule to all!

    As far as I’m concerned there are two different holidays which just happen (’cause one of them got piggybacked onto the other) to fall on Dec 25th. As Revere says, one of them is completely secular and I love to celebrate it. Even back when I was still Christian I (and my parents for that matter) kept the two celebrations separate. Dropping one of them doesn’t interfere with the other at all…

    So happy holidays – whatever they be!

  14. #14 crfullmoon
    December 24, 2006

    Health and happiness -wow- grandchildren!-
    and lots of good luck to all.

    Happy holidays,
    at the beaches down under,
    or, having to shovel the white stuff if you don’t usually have any,
    or, wondering why it’s green and the plants keep trying to leaf out – found a wooly bear caterpillar strolling on the lawn today- when we used to have snow every winter solstice…
    Welcome Yule. Take care, all.

  15. #15 Interrobang
    December 24, 2006

    Merry Christmas and so on to all the celebrants here at Effect Measure. I only really celebrate Christmas under duress; I like the potlatch part of it, but I can live without the silly music and so on. Keeping my exposure to my family at a minimum is also a good idea for happy holidaying hereabouts. :)

  16. #16 tan06
    December 24, 2006

    Have a Merry Christmas everybody who is posting here and a Happy New Year!!! I did appreciate your posts very much, Revere, and many comments of the well-known readers altogether! Bests to you all!

    During my reading and sometimes posting at Effect Measure and other Bird Flu sites my cat on my lap has learnt the effect on the screen has something to do with patting on the keyboard. So it may be a disturbing 2007 while she is exercising and not letting me finish my text first.
    Still, I’ll be back here writing nonsense and maybe a critical question sometimes worth reacting to. My first goal in the new year is to improve my English.

  17. #17 BG
    December 24, 2006

    I thought you were Jewish. HA! You’re a poser in every way. Merry Christmas!

  18. #18 revere
    December 24, 2006

    BG: No pose here. I had a Jewish education in a Jewish household. At 12 I became a secular humanist, aka, godless. But I really do like xmas.

  19. #19 nsthesia
    December 24, 2006

    Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year to All!

    Reveres, thank you for the the excellent website and for all of your hard work. Additional thanks to all for your insightful and knowledgeable posts. I have learned much.

    May you be blessed with the gifts of happiness, joy and contentment this Christmas season.

  20. #20 Lisa the GP
    December 24, 2006

    I have a secular tree too. It is sort of like a giant, floor-standing flower arrangement, with not one whit of religious symbol on it.

    I was going to cook a duck, but when I got home after a day of volunteering the cat was too hungry to wait, so we shared a hamburger.

    I now have a very happy cat. :)

  21. #21 Lori
    December 24, 2006

    Thank you Revere, for everything. Especially for those wonderful Sunday Sermonettes. Like a breath of fresh air on a hot, hot day.

    A happy Yule/Solstice/Christmas/Chanukkah – whatevah to you all. I was just wondering if ol’ Beantown will evah see another white Christmas? It has been beautiful weather, but personally, a tad disturbing. Feels more like Atlanta than Boston.

    Ah well, the Pats won, the presents are wrapped, the fir tree looks spectacular, and each day will be longer by a few seconds from here on in.

    Peace on earth, and goodwill to all.

  22. #22 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    December 24, 2006

    Live long and prosper.

  23. #23 O'Leary
    December 25, 2006

    A JOYEUX NOEL from the profound French contryside, all coated with white and perfectly silent. Thank you for your wonderful blog and I hope that the coming year will be an excellent one for you and the family!

  24. #24 Ana
    December 25, 2006

    Thanks for the blog.

    Peace. Hope. Love.

  25. #25 Lea
    December 25, 2006

    Peace Brother.

  26. #26 David
    December 25, 2006

    Merry Christmas! God bless you all!

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