I wrote this awhile ago, but I figured it beared repeating, especially on this new blog.
Why I, as an Atheist, celebrate the Christmas season.
Being an atheist at this time of the year, I am sometimes asked why I celebrate Christmas. This is my attempt to explain it.
To be honest, my family celebrated Christmas in a non-religious way. In fact, the only thing I remember that had religious meaning was a Nativity scene my parents had. I knew what it represented, but that was it. We never went to church for Christmas. Santa Claus was the reason for our season.
Now that I am married with children of my own, our Christmas is religion-free. My wife does have a Nativity scene, but she sets it up only in honor of her family. My children know who Jesus is, but they also know that I do not believe he is the “son of God”, or that there even is a God. But they do respect that others do believe.
Christmas, as I have tried to teach my children, is a time of good will and friendship, of spending time with family and friends. We enjoy the "Christmas Season", instead of just one day. From the Friday after Thanksgiving to New Year's, we enjoy it as a month long celebration. We enjoy the television specials, the music and the lit-up, decorated houses. And, of course, the food!
I guess I still celebrate the same way I did as a kid, although I consciously avoid religious allusions, whereas my parents were just lax. I suppose I could thank them for that, although I doubt they would find it amusing. While they, perhaps reluctantly, know I am an Atheist, they are more religious now than when I was a child. My father more so than my mother.
For some reason, when many people hear the word “Atheist”, they automatically assume “immoral”. This always amazes me. I lead a very moral, very traditional life. I teach my children to be good human beings. I just do not believe in a “superior being”.
I also do not force my views on my children. They are exposed to my beliefs, as well as the beliefs of the varied family members and friends around them. They are related to, or are friends with, not only Christians, but also people who are Jewish and Muslim. And other Atheists. When they are old enough, they can decide for themselves what they believe in.
Most of all, my family and I wish everyone a good, happy month, full of friends, family and fun. Oh yeah, and food!
This is a link to the original piece.