I REALLY hate photos of myself but I thought it was time to reveal myself, especially since I am about to confess that I am the shit disturber of my family. Yes I am the rebel, the extreme one. Can you believe it when you look at my picture?
By now you know that I am a vegan. Yes, very extreme and freakish of me. I cause no end of trouble at family dinners. It may also have come to your attention that I am not a theist. I believe that there is no god. That isn't so shocking to my family members since everyone in my immediate family is also an atheist, with the exception of one sister-in-law. Although I love her it is difficult for me not to challenge her beliefs at times. Especially when she expresses that her god does not condone homosexuality. She thinks it is a sin. She thinks it is something people choose. However, that is not the subject of my extreme and radical focus today. I am thinking about Christmas.
I find it kind of hypocritical that Christmas is celebrated in my family. Not that there is any sort of Christianity evident in our activities. I think it is all part of a demonstration of respect for my long dead grandparents who were very private but very devout believers. My parents are deeply atheist but definitely not boat rockers. My mother always said her defection from Christianity really hurt her mother and she felt badly about it. So Christmas was acknowledged, although in a very secular way, and I never though anything of it. My family continues to reason that Christmas is just part of our cultural tradition and so we celebrate our love for family and friends and we just happen to decorate a tree and eat a turkey dinner and look forward to a visit from Santa Claus.
I would like to radically alter our festivities but I don't have any supporters for my plan. Of course I no longer cook a turkey myself, but one is always served, even at my house since my husband will cook it. Insisting on the dinner being at my house and then not providing a turkey would be going to far. By having dinner at my house I have the opportunity to present my family with a variety of delicious vegan dishes to try. I would like to re-name the celebration, although I haven't quite decided on a name. It should have something to do with Loving Kindness. I could continue with the tree but would like to focus on nature inspired decorations. I have to admit to a love of old style European Santa Claus or St Nicholas and I have a lovely carved wooden one. To me this figure represents the idea of giving and I can certainly incorporate that into a Loving Kindness celebration.
Christmas day is an amalgam of Christian and pagan traditions and is celebrated on December 25 not because there is any evidence that a Christ was born on that actual date, but because the pagans were already celebrating winter solstice then and could be convinced to add a little Christian worship to their roster of activities. I would like to make the Loving Kindness celebration a more frequent event, so I think both a winter solstice and summer solstice celebration would be perfect.
Now I need some jargon for my celebration. Suggestions are welcome. I know it doesn't hurt me to say, "Merry Christmas" to people, it's just that it is limited in meaning for me. I want to say to people, "May your heart be filled with love." "Peace be with you" "My you spread joy and loving kindness everywhere you go." "Go in peace brothers and sisters" Those are the things I want to say. That is what I mean when I parrot the expected phrase, Merry Christmas.