This year, like all years before it, I will attend Christmas Mass. Not because I feel nostalgic about God at this time of the year. I'd be lying if I said that I look forward to this mass. Spending 1 hour in a church standing up, sitting down, kneeling, and hearing parishioner rhyme off passages which have long ago lost their meaning to the people saying them isn't exactly my idea of fun. But, since I have to be there, I choose to spend my time as an observer, making mental notes of everything I see or hear. Maybe one of these days I'll remember to jot them down. It's really fascinating to see people in a place of worship. It's a side of them that's usually different from the day-to-day version that we're exposed to, but that's a topic for another day.
So, one might wonder then, why I bother going to Christmas Mass at all. Obviously as an atheist, I don't buy into the whole "Messiah born to the Virgin Mary" bit. I go to Christmas Mass then, because it makes my Mom happy to be there with her, even though she knows that I'm not a believer. If it makes her happy to be there, then I can tolerate this once-a-year excursion for her sake.
In spite of my non-belief, I can still appreciate Christmas. I, however, see Christmas as a festival which brings family and friends together to share good food and good times. I love visiting with family on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I love seeing the look on peoples' faces when they open a gift that you thoughtfully picked out for them (and which they actually like!). I love love all of the hustle and bustle leading up to Christmas, as everyone charges to the malls to find the ideal gift. I can't say that I'm a fan of the lineups and the huge crowds per se, but there is a certain atmosphere about this time of year that I really enjoy.
Merry-Almost-Christmas, and happy shopping!
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