We still enjoy Christmas time. Over exposure to too many Christian themes can be annoying but I think with the additional focus on good will to all men makes it worth it. Being apart from family would make this and other holidays much more difficult though so I have sympathy for your position.
I still like it. Now I don't have to feel guilty that Christ is not the center of my Christmas... never really was, but I always felt guilty about it. Now it is ok to just be obsessed with decorating and baking and shopping for their own sake. No spiritual guilt!
Thanks Mike for your Christmas spirit ! I just want to write to everyone personally and thank them for reading my story. The website comes to an end in just over a week and I will find out if they are going to use my contribution. What a night that will be if I`m given the opportunity. Still meeting new friends has been a wonderful bonus for Christmas even if family cannot be relied on - friends surely can. Take care.
Hi Kiley I agree with you about friends, even if we have to `put up` with family we can rely on our our friends to make the holiday special. I am writing to everyone today and thanking them personally for reading my story on the website. Hopefully I will get to tell the whole truth about my ex-mormon episode and put a closure on it. Taking the best from the past, leaving the rest behind and going forward into a brighter future. Take care
I always loved Christmas as a child. I was even convinced that I'd seen Santa's sleigh flying across the SoCal sky (it was the Goodyear Blimp flying with lights flashing to look like his sleigh! Thank You Goodyear it gave me one more year of belief!)
Now I celebrate the same traditions minus Christ. I feel no guilt in this, why should I? People have been celebrating the season of lights for thousands of years!
A little info: A Festival of Light:
Many cultures have winter festivals that are in fact celebrations of light. In addition to Christmas, there's Hanukkah with its brightly lit menorahs, Kwanzaa candles, and any number of other holidays. The Pagan holiday called Yule takes place on the day of the winter solstice, around December 21. On that day (or close to it), an amazing thing happens in the sky. The earth's axis tilts away from the sun in the Northern Hemisphere, and the sun reaches at its greatest distance from the equatorial plane. As a festival of the Sun, the most important part of any Yule celebration is light -- candles, bonfires, and more. Origins of Yule:
In the Northern hemisphere, the winter solstice has been celebrated for millenia. The Norse peoples viewed it as a time for much feasting, merrymaking, and, if the Icelandic sagas are to be believed, a time of sacrifice as well. Traditional customs such as the Yule log, the decorated tree, and wassailing can all be traced back to Norse origins.
Celtic Celebrations of Winter:
The Celts of the British Isles celebrated midwinter as well. Although little is known about the specifics of what they did, many traditions persist. According to the writings of Pliny the Elder, this is the time of year in which Druid priests sacrificed a white bull and gathered mistletoe in celebration.
Few cultures knew how to party like the Romans. Saturnalia was a festival of general merrymaking and debauchery held around the time of the winter solstice. This week-long party was held in honor of the god Saturn, and involved sacrifices, gift-giving, special privileges for slaves, and a lot of feasting. Although this holiday was partly about giving presents, more importantly, it was to honor an agricultural god. Welcoming the Sun Through the Ages:
Four thousand years ago, the Ancient Egyptians took the time to celebrate the daily rebirth of Horus - the god of the Sun. As their culture flourished and spread throughout Mesopotamia, other civilizations decided to get in on the sun-welcoming action. They found that things went really well... until the weather got cooler, and crops began to die. Each year, this cycle of birth, death and rebirth took place, and they began to realize that every year after a period of cold and darkness, the Sun did indeed return.
Winter festivals were also common in Greece and Rome, as well as in the British Isles. When a new religion called Christianity popped up, the new hierarchy had trouble converting the Pagans, and as such, folks didn't want to give up their old holidays. Christian churches were built on old Pagan worship sites, and Pagan symbols were incorporated into the symbolism of Christianity. Within a few centuries, the Christians had everyone worshipping a new holiday celebrated on December 25.
In some traditions of Wicca and Paganism, the Yule celebration comes from the Celtic legend of the battle between the young Oak King and the Holly King. The Oak King, representing the light of the new year, tries each year to usurp the old Holly King, who is the symbol of darkness. Re-enactment of the battle is popular in some Wiccan rituals.
Almost EVERY symbol used in Christian holidays has it's foundation (Look I said FOUNDATION!!) in the ancients. I saved my Yule tree from last year, tucked into the bushes in the back yard, and, that's what we are going to burn for our Yule Fire this year.
I'm lucky that ALL 7 of my children have followed me out of this miserable religion/cult. Two are still Christians, one maybe two leans to Buddhism, one is agnostic, and three are Pagans.
What a wonderful story Ginger. You are so lucky that your children have followed you and left also. I think it is great that they have a mixture of different beliefs - does it cause difficulties or are they still close? I am taking this opportunity to thank members of the group who have read my story on the website. Hopefully enough views and people saying they liked and wanted to know more, will mean I have the opportunity to tell the whole story on the program. I have a brighter future with new friends. leaving the worse experiences behind me. Thanks and take care.
We are a very close family. My husband died about 4 & 1/2 years ago. We see no need to fight over religion. We have always talked about spiritual matters. My husband had a BA in Tibetan Buddhism, so, there was always talk in our family that was respectful. He did convert (my fault). But, in the end we are together.