Monday 28 November 2011

To Jesus or not?

I know that Alice won't remember anything from her first Christmas but I found myself thinking about the way we will celebrate this, lets be honest, fucked up holiday in the years to come.

Last weekend, a friend asked me if Alice was going to sit on Santa's lap at the shopping center? Anti-consumerism Claudia answered "No, not at all, no way"! My friend was pretty disappointed but, as I told her, I'm a notorious party pooper!

Like most people from my part of the world (and my age...this makes me feel old!), I was born catholic but I no longer practice. Back when I was in elementary school, we still had "bible class" (this no longer exist in public school). Our teacher would tell us the birth story of Jesus and we would create nativity scene out of cardboard, glitter and maybe macaroni (as I said, it was a while ago)!

Just like sitting on Santa's lap, I wanted to exclude religion from our holiday celebrations but if I remove the bearded dude in red and the bearded dude born in a crèche, well, there is not much left.

WARNING: I will express my thoughts on religion...dangerous :P

So after consideration, I decided to add a bit of catholicism to our future Christmas traditions. I think that it would be a bit hypocritical to avoid completely the subject with Alice since Christmas commemorate the birth of Jesus. Even if religion doesn't take much place in our life, I find very important to educate Alice on the subject. I want her to understand that there are many religions and that we should respect what other people decided to believe.

So to Dan's great surprise, I purchased to DIY nativity kit. I don't know if he was surprised about the acquisition of a religion item or because it is a DIY that implies painting with tiny mini paintbrushes? Anyway, this should be a fun mother-daughter activity (I desperately count on my mom, who did a wood painting class, to successfully create our nativity scene) and I must admit that the idea of displaying our small nativity scene every year feels pretty cool to me.

Concerning Santa at the shopping centre...the answer is still no. Sorry Marie-Christine!

* * * * *

the franglaise: I know! They could have added another illustration or simply removed the gun. There is also another one that I don't like: Épinard = Ouach ... really?

hoola tallulah: I was also thinking about the little boys playing with bows-arrows-guns-toy soliders. This is why I was wondering if I was paranoid or not! But just like you I still don't like it.

190.arch: You are so right about the classic stories. They are pretty hardcore when you think about it. Ah, what you wrote about the way that italian society treats little ones (written as a lazy sun) is super interesting. How does the story ends?

taryn: Really? This is bizarre! And she doesn't know where he got that from?

sophie: I will probably glue the pages together. It is simple and nobody will know that there was a gun illustration there!

lindsey [homegrown spud]: Oh, what is a worst case scenario (chiropractor)? Thank you! I like to think that Alice is very happy with us...well, since she almost never cries and smiles 99% of the rime it might be a good indicator :)


Hoola Tallulah said...

I am not religious (in the organised sense), and actually a bit anti organised religion (seems to cause a lot of trouble in this world). But I surprised myself by choosing a catholic junior school for my eldest girls! Why? Well, honestly it was one of the best schools (academnically) in the area, but after visiting all the schools, what struck me the most was how friendly it was, the school ethos was about loving one another and supporting one another, it was a cheerful and happy place and so different to the none religious schools. I decided that there are many positive aspects to the messages shared in the bible (be kind, don't steal, don't hurt, share etc) that are good moral grounding for kids. I vowed that the moment the teachers started preaching hell and damnation I would remove the children at once, but this never happenned, and I am considering sending my youngest two to the same school. My kids also attended catholic school in France, but they taught no religion there at all, or even said prayers, very odd!

Shannah said...

We are atheists but I think the Christmas story is a beautiful one filled with humanity and hope. Our holidays focus on celebrating the changing seasons/nature.
Isn't it funny how babies make you rethink or reaffirm your belief systems:) I agree with no Santa laps too!

Gimbo said...

I really identify with this post so much; I'm an atheist, but was brought up in a pentcostal Christian household. I celebrate Christmas, mainly because when it's getting dark at 3pm, a big light-filled celebration is needed just to stop you killing yourself. However, despite not believing in god, the Christian rituals of my childhood made me who I am today. Replaying some of them helps to connect me to my past and my family, and I take comfort from them being there at Christmas time - something I want my 6-month-old daughter to start to share. I still haven't decided whether a nativity set is for us, but it's good to know other people are pondering this too.

As for santa, I have a bit of a phobia about massive beards, so his lap is a total no-no for me! :)

peanut said...

I've been looking for a nice wooden nativity set for years and that one looks so pretty. We don't attend church anymore. I was raise Anglican and went to church through my time at university. I love the music and pagentry of church (lots of people seem to find that kind of weird) but my attendance really depends on the quality of the sermons. My husband grew up with a completely different tradition and we have never found somewhere we are both comfortable and we're okay with not going (we also ... er ... really like sleeping in on Sunday morning). Like many people who no long "practice", I think there is something good in having that foundation - a sort of moral starting point from which you can later figure out what you really think.

I like keeping Christ in Christmas because, as you said, if you take him away what else is there but I also really love to learn about different soltice celebrations and where so many of the traditions we enjoy come from.

Su said...

Hi Claudia. I was raised without any religion (thank god) but we always celebrated Christmas. My favorite thing about decorating for the holidays was the nativity scene. I took pride every year in arranging the ceramic characters under a manger my dad made. I didn't really know the story behind it but it didn't matter because I thought it was fun (and I still do).

Anne said...

Very interesting topic. I was raised religiously, and now I don't know where I stand. But Christmas being a religious celebration at its core, we will probably have a nativity at home to symbolize it. We will probably also tell our son religious stories from time to time. When he's older, he will be able to choose to believe or not, but these stories are good for general knowledge. I remember a university class in which we had pictures to analyze. One of the pictures made reference to a biblical episode. Those who had never been told those religious stories didn't have a clue, and it was somehow a handicap. To sum up my point of view, the knowledge can't do any harm, whether you believe or not.