annanotbob2's Diaryland Diary


About atheism and Christmas

I've felt miserable as shit all day, which somehow feels like a failure, though it isn't. Yesterday was hard - me and YD both trying to put a brave face on things for each other's sake, both catching glimpses of the other's despair at where ED is at, where she's going. And it's fucking Christmas.

I feel I need to elaborate on what Christmas is in the UK and what it's not, and that needs a preface about atheism. There's been a lot of posts mentioning atheism from my American pals in recent days and I realise it's a thing in America in a way that it just isn't here. There are Brits with religious beliefs, of course there are (I just checked and it seems that while 75% ascribe to a religion on census forms, only 10% attend any kind of church/temple/mosque). We are a secular society. Christianity is a story some people believe, just as Islam is a story other people believe and Judaism is another (but far more complicated and much less optional). Few of the people I know would describe themselves as atheists unless pushed, and then they'd probably ask first to be reminded which are atheists and which are agnostics. Religion isn't part of life and when you see where it gets a lot of folk, frankly it's not missed. Atheists are not a group with an alternative vision of 'how it is' and what will happen when we die, we're just most of the population of Britain and probably most of Northern Europe, if not all of Europe these days. I can't see that it has any impact on the moral or ethical behaviour of people.

So, we still have Christmas, but it has evolved, as things do. For most of us it has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus, but it remains the only day celebrated in a similar fashion by almost the entire country. Most of the Jews I know celebrate Christmas the same way as the rest of us, and if reality TV is anything to go by (which it surely is), so do adherents of other faiths. We send cards, buy a tree, decorate it, exchange presents, have a few days off work, get together with family and friends, eat a lot, probably turkey and sprouts, maybe drink quite a lot and it's all meant to be happy, the most wonderful time of the year, all that malarkey. Obviously, the reality is that this can be a nightmare for some (many?), family (if indeed you have family) does not automatically equate with easy comfort and joy, but we mostly plod on, do our bit, pay some kind of lip service

I used to be into it. I like a bit of ritual, and feel sad that we have so little left in Britain that we all share. It used to be fun. But it's not any more - I can't celebrate family without ED and she was so into it, she was a large part of what made it good, all the planning and that. Maybe it'll come back, maybe it would be OK now if it weren't for the barrage of shite about it everywhere. Fuck off elf on a shelf, for starters, just fuck off. Of course most of it's advertising, creating a vision of merriment and love way beyond reality, but it's also all over the telly and the radio, my usual sources of mindless distraction, and the more I'm told that I could be having fun, the more heartbroken I feel, and it does feel like that, a big hurty lump in my chest, broken, in the heart region.

Well, that took longer to write than I thought. Apart from being an old miz, today I:

1. Finished my cowl/snood/scarf thing
2. Got dressed before it got dark again, just
3. Went to the shop and bought firewood
4. Lit and maintained a fire
5. Played nice when M came round.

I am grateful for: a blog to moan in; friends; fire; daughters and son; honey

Laters xxx

1:49 a.m. - 16.12.15


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