I just stumbled upon this excellent blog post about celebrating Christmas as a nonbeliever and making sense of the fictitious “war on Christmas” that we hear so much about every goddamn year. I wish I could write something as compelling as this. Maybe I could, if I had the patience.
That’s right, I didn’t say “happy holidays” or “seasons greetings” — I said “merry Christmas.” And yes, I’m an atheist, one who loves the Christmas season so much that I tend to get into the spirit of the holiday a little earlier than most. I love the decorations, the music, the gift-giving, the mythology — all of it. This often surprises people because I tend to have a dark sense of humor and an unsentimental, pragmatic worldview. But every December, you’ll find me singing along with Nat King Cole and Dean Martin as I decorate the tree; you’ll find me getting misty-eyed and sniffly when George Bailey comes to understand how many lives his mundane existence has touched and influenced; you’ll hear me wishing “merry Christmas” — and yes, sometimes “happy holidays” — to total strangers. And I’ll say it again — I’m an atheist.
Before I go any further, I want to make sure that word is clearly understood. There seem to be a lot of people who think an atheist is an angry, immoral person who eats babies and sodomizes house pets, and that simply isn’t the case.