I have a Jewish acquaintance who said something about the Christmas tree being pretty and everything, but that she just doesn't get it. I tried hard not to feel sorry for her for missing out. She has her own brand of faith, and it really doesn't matter what the labels are as long as people are content.
Every year I spend some time thinking about secular verses religious Christmas, though. I always think what a cold, selfish Christmas it must be for non-believers, shoving presents at each other without the underlayment of the First Gifts (from Wise Men, from God), without really feeling the beauty of the Christmas hymns at Church, and thinking of the story. I'm no literalist, but I am a storyteller. I've said before I don't care what's real or not in the Bible. It's the theme of belief and doing good that's the actual Truth, as much as you can find Truth in any work of fiction. I'm also a mom who sat in an icy cold hospital room, when it was under construction, so cold it made my baby cry, and I held her tight to keep her warm, even though it stressed my surgery incision. So I can at least imagine what it's like to give birth into cold uncertainty. Hearing that story again reminds me that it happens all over the world, every day.
Plenty of folks give a lot more than I do to worthy causes, good people of small faith. I don't think faith is a requirement for goodness. In the hands of fallible humans, it's often more a hindrance. But what most people fail to grasp is that faith = questions. Curiosity. People of real faith-- you know those people, who just seem settled and relaxed and thoughtful, but never preachy-- have a comfort level with not knowing. Most of humankind lack that. To me it's the saddest, most failing part of the argument against God. So many atheists (the ones who argue stringently against God, the ones who make fun of "fairies at the bottom of the Garden) seem to be people who have to know. There's a smugness in certainty that incidentally mirrors many Christians. Not to mention the sad hypocrisy, as these are people who freely make fun of the "faithful with their imaginary friends" or go out of their way to slander Christ, but would be indignant if someone said the same about their "group".
People of true faith, people on a journey of questions rather than answers, celebrate the unknown. Those are the kind of people, no matter what what their beliefs or disbeliefs (I certainly know many atheists who fit into this "type") who are worth seeking out and spending time with.
I have a dinner party coming up, just a small group. But among us are questioners rather than answerers. And I realized that's why I'm looking forward to it so much. Not because the conversation will be so deep and probing, but that these are people who revel in the questions more than the answers. I know a lot of creatives like that. Nearly every writer I know is like that, regardless of "faith".
And when I divide the people I know into camps, those are the names of the camps.
And I've recently realized that some ones I know no longer fit into the Questioner camp. Sadly I go. I suppose there is a place in the world for both, though. Plenty of people greatly prefer the people with the answers. In fact, most people I know prefer answers over questions. Which camp do you prefer?