Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Christmas Conundrum

I love the holidays. I even have a tag specifically for christmas-themed posts. It's called Holly Jolly. This year we're off to a late start with the decorating (clarification: SOB is off to a late start. The inside of the house is all a-twinkle!) but otherwise the christmas season is in full swing around here.

But here's the thing: last year Sam started to ask questions about Christmas-with-a-capital-C, and this year his inquiries have only gotten more intense. Other times of the year we'll talk about religion and stuff when it comes up, but that's not too often. During the holidays? We probably hear more about Jesus listening to holiday music on the trip to school than we do the rest of the year combined. And that's got him pondering things again. But this year, there's a twist.

In the past year we've covered a lot of ground, religiously speaking. We've talked about the major different world religions, and talked a lot about how it's possible for different people to have different beliefs. We've talked about facts versus faiths, and how just because someone believes something that doesn't make it undeniably true. We've talked about respecting other peoples beliefs, even if they don't jive with our own.

What's getting to Sam this christmas time is the idea that I used to go to church with Nunnie and Pappy and I believed the same things that they did, but now I don't. He wants to know how and when all that happened. I've been pretty frank with him about my beliefs, or lack thereof. He's also been to church enough times with my parents to know that they are pretty serious about theirs. So how do I even begin to explain to a little boy the lengthy, introspective process by which I came to my un-beliefs? And how do I help keep the magic of the holiday season alive and well in our house while also answering his questions honestly?

Perhaps, if I were a different person, this is when I'd start praying.

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Arizaphale said...

Ooooh very tricky. Tell him to ask his grandparents.

Anonymous said...

I'm an evangelical-raised atheist; despite my parents' best efforts, I started doubting the whole Jesus thing at age 8. I remember very clearly, it was a lesson on prayer requests, and the lesson was that God will say yes, no or maybe, depending on "his plan".

Of course, this set off wheels in motion in my little mind, when I realized that the same things would happen whether I prayed or not ... so why pray?