I celebrated the winter solstice last night in the company of friends at the Yard House in Long Beach. I picked the date on purpose; although the significance escaped those at the small gathering, it was my annual Christmas party to those who attended. We celebrated a hard year, drank some beer, listed to good music, ate, and talked. It was a glorious non-religious event.
Some of my friends are Christian, some atheist, some into a higher power, and more than a few just don’t care. As the sun dipped below the horizon on a typical warm winter night, we watched the colors of the sunset change from blue, to deep orange, yellow, red, and finally to black. We talked about everything and nothing. All of it was important, and just as quickly forgotten. Laughter erupted spontaneously, especially as the evening progressed. As is my custom, I passed out a few gifts, most were books, as is also my custom.
A few of my fellow atheists give me a hard time over how much I enjoy the holidays. They say – “It’s reinforces the Christian’s hold on our country, we must fight” – bla bla bla. I push only Guinness during the holiday season, I sing along to Stairway to Heaven just as much as I do Silent Night. My heart is full of happiness and joy; I put aside my atheism and celebrate life with abandon – because it is all I have.
As an interesting side note – I reread Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount last night after the party. I read it every year. I hold no grudge against Jesus, as many of my atheist peers do. I just don't believe he was god, or even actually existed. I instead celebrate the wisdom that is at the heart of Christianity. I think the early authors of the New Testament did a good job of capturing a workable moral code. Last night's lesson – the Beatitudes – blessed are the meek… It makes me wonder, what really happened to the original message? How did it go so wrong?
Happy Holidays (or whatever blows your dress up)