Christmas Spirit

(This Christmas also marks my first time decorating a real Christmas tree, instead of those plastic “toilet brushers.”)

I am not a Christian. As someone who grew up in an Asian country with absolutely no exposure to even the slightest touch of religion, it is also, at this point, impossible for me to convert. I’ve heard all the stories, I’ve been preached upon many times and had many people’s inner jesus freak possess them and attempt to convert me, but I am not embarrassed to say that I am an athiest, and that is a fact that will never change. Yes, perhaps if I’d grown up in the U.S. in a happy suburban family that went to a happy church I might’ve grown up to be a decent God-fearing woman, but that is the opposite of what ended up happening to my life. I am not agnostic or confused, my religion is: when we die, we dead. I don’t believe there’s a superior force looking over us,  and there’s nothing more than just us and nature… And aliens maybe… I don’t believe in heaven or hell or being punished for doing “wrong” things since there are just too many exceptions, but I personally believe in only doing to others what I would do to myself because, well, that’s just the nice thing to do.

Sorry to start the Christmas blog being a Debbie Downer, but this is just the truth. But, my point is way beyond my confidence in my athiesm.

For the past three years, Christmas has been my savior. I have finally learned for myself what countless movies and Christmas specials on TV have been trying to point out for decades – that this holiday is all about family. It’s the season to truly appreciate the wonderful people that have walked in/out of your life. We are not who we our without influence from the people we love, or even those we dispise. Getting back in contact with my family filled a void in my soul that no professional therapy could’ve cured. Finally feeling loved has allowed me to learn how to love others.

Just a couple of hours ago, we joined our aunt’s family and visited the Valparaiso United Methodist Church’s Christmas eve service. Although I feel like I will never get used to the singing of songs with lyrics that don’t make any sense, the repetitive preaching of the same exact story, and the weird dipping bread in grape-juice madness, I’ve learned to accept it for what is it and just soak in the happiness the people seem to radiate throughout the room.

Another great thing about the church was their short dedication to a thing called “Advent Conspiracy.” It was the first time I’d heard of the movement, but it immediately earned my full support. Over the years, there have been a lot of bad things in relation to Christianity that have done nothing but promote hate and prejudice, but organizations like these is what makes me still have hope in the religion. The movement discourages the (REDICULOUSLY) excessive spending American families go through during the holiday season and proposes a different approach of “giving” to the millions of people in this world who have “needs,” not those silly “wants” of toys and materialistic objects.

Here’s the video:

Although the video portrayed the idea through a currently overused style of nothing but rolling and flipping words, the point was clear and very well delivered. Hey, it got me. As someone who is also pretty bothered sometimes by the wealthy people that I know who constantly spoil their children with unnecessary gifts of the most pricey up-to-date technology (that will be out-of-date in less than 6 months), I felt an obligation to share this message the only way I knew how. It is unfair, when you look at the rest of the world, how we are allowed to take food, clean water and warmth for granted while so many in the world are suffering.

For me and most others, Christmas is about reconnecting with your loved ones, appreciating the luxuries of good health and how easy I have it living as a college student in the States, and realizing that gift cards and Tickle-me-Elmoes don’t matter nearly as much as the memories we share. I’m going to end this with how all holiday movies seem to end:

Merry Christmas and God bless us all!!!

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