Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Christmas toss-up

I'm an atheist, but I wasn't raised that way. Nor was I raised in any religion. I'm trying to bring up the kid a little more spiritually informed than I was, and with an open choice to make re: religion when the time comes. Christmas can, naturally enough, make this a little tricky. Especially in this house.
See, we kinda love Christmas around here. We have to have a tree, we like to have the holiday with some kind of family (this year it's our nuclear one for the first time), make sure we watch the old movies that brought out the spirit in us as kids, listen to our own brand of Christmas music and usually have a hearty meal on the day. So, the kid's getting that it's important to us.
However...
She's in a nursery, and this year they did a little Nativity play. She was Joseph. It was the first exposure she'd had to the whole story, and indeed to most of the idea of Jesus (or at least 'Baby Jesus'), and she was almost immediately enamoured. I wasn't too surprised: she loves a good story, and it's a pretty decent one. The folks at the nursery didn't seem to be indoctrinating her with any kind of scriptural brainwashing or anything, so I couldn't really mind. Sure, every once in a while she was coming home with little gems like, 'Baby Jesus is very strong. Stronger than anybody,' but her understanding of Mary, Joseph, the Angel Gabriel and the Baby himself amounted to something more like Super Friends than saviour and family.
But, of course, there's the questions. And she's reaching the point where my vague style of answering such questions in an even-handed manner (e.g., 'There are people in the world who believe...') is not really cutting it for her. She's somehow worked out that, for some people at least, this is Real, and not just the Fairy Story she was first understanding it as. I try to make sure to talk with her about it, in the very least to feel out where she stands mentally on the whole issue of it's reality, and I can only come to the conclusion that it doesn't really matter to her.
Because, really, her memory reaches to about a month ago lately on casual things, and much longer on things that matter alot to her. Seems like this is a thing that is ending up not mattering any more to her than that there's more to the Sleeping Beauty story than '...happily ever after.' And quite possibly less.
When it comes right down to it, though, I'll be grateful when the season's over and we can get back to not talking about Baby Jesus, Angel Gabriel...and their occasional encounters with the Wicked Witch of the West.

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