My atheist friend finds herself yearning for Advent.
I could just leave that statement there. We could celebrate the strange movements of the Holy Spirit. But I want to explore a bit further.
My friend is German, and she pulled out some German books. Even though I speak no German, the pictures were enough to let me know what tugged at her heartstrings: cookies, decorations, candles--oh yes.
Her Advent childhood wasn't much different than my Advent childhood. We both had Advent calendars, with windows that we opened each day. We had Advent wreaths. We baked all kinds of cookies.
My atheist friend is planning an Advent craft day on Dec. 3. We will create some of the creations of her childhood. My Wiccan friend will bring sugar cookies. My Hindu friend will play along. She's lived in this country long enough to understand the pull that Christmas has on us--plus, her German grandmother immigrated to India, so she has some connections to this holiday too.
So, is it the Holy Spirit at work? Or do we get to a certain age and succumb to nostalgia?
For those of you who drag your children to church and force your families to celebrate in certain ways, if you wonder if it's worth it, if you wonder if it will all pay off, I'd have to say yes, based on the experiences I've had with my non-believer friends.
My atheist friend says, "Don't read too much into this. I'm just using Advent as an excuse."
I say, "I know. You're using Advent as an excuse to celebrate Advent."
I'm not pushing the issue too much. I know that we can celebrate Christmas with absolutely no religious intent. In fact, I know that even the most spiritual people can get lost in the commercialism of Christmas. I've always been an advocate for the healthy things that bring us joy--and Advent traditions do that for many of us.
A week from today, Advent begins. How will you celebrate? How will you stay centered?
feeling the feelings…
11 months ago