Now that the Epiphany has officially marked the end of the Christmas Season, I can freely discuss my own beliefs without crapping all over someone else’s holiday. So, in answer to those few people who ask what I celebrate in the middle of December, I celebrate Christmas, because, why not?
There was probably some big party that related in one way or another to the Winter Solstice; every northern culture has one, but the fragments that have survived don’t mention its name or significance. Yule, for you Wiccans out there, is a Germanic holiday.
The Gaelic calendar doesn’t border its seasons on the solar events, it centers them there, with the months measured out by full moons. So Samhain, the beginning of winter, falls around the beginning of November, two full moons after the autumnal equinox, and Imbolc, the beginning of spring, is celebrated around the beginning of February, on the second moon after the winter solstice. There was almost certainly some big do on the longest night of the year, probably relating to culling and to enjoying the people you have while you have them, but it hasn’t survived.
So I celebrate Christmas, because I live in a culture where the party during the winter solstice is called Christmas, even though the person who’s birth it celebrates was undoubtedly born in early spring. Do I worship Jesus at that time? No, but I don’t care who does. It’s none of my business if someone wants to say December 25 is his god’s birthday. To me, the important thing is a day to see my family and enjoy their presence.
To me, Yeshua bin Miriam was (if reports of him are accurate) an astoundingly advanced philosopher with some great ideas about how to treat each other, but he isn’t my god. He’s my family’s god, so, as long as he continues to allow me to celebrate the shortest days of the year with them, I’m cool with that.
I’m cool with any holiday that gives me an excuse to draw my family together and tell them how much I love them, because everything can change in an instant. Refusing the opportunity to be with our loved ones over personal details of faith is stupid.