We believe in many things.
We believe in the goodness of humans, and in the ability of some humans to do inhumane things, but certainly ratios favor the good.
Christian tradition asks us to believe in a rather shaky date of birth of a certain influential Jew who was executed for telling humans to be humane. Despite my doubts of shepherds doing typical summerish things in late December, we do believe that someone important came into the world to teach kindness and tolerance in an intolerant time. For that, we are grateful.
Lately, tolerance and kindness seem in short supply. Some people who lift up the name of their god and savior (whose birthday may or may not be upon us), appear to have forgotten certain lessons he taught: we are all one, we are equal to both the queens and whores, we are flawed and perfect at once, we are redeemable when we fail, we are in this together so we’d better get along and stop comparing ourselves to our neighbors.
Some. Ratios favor the good.
For my own small person, I leave Christ out of Christmas and insert Kindness instead.
We give gifts out of appreciation and joy. We decorate a Christmas tree because dammit, we’d do that every month if we could. We talk about ancient people living in the cold and dark, waiting out the longest night of the year, and celebrating the beginning of a few more moments of sunlight every day until the next big event, the longest day of the year. We hope for magic in the middle of dreary, dreary gray winter.
We celebrate snow and its security-blanket effect on our hearts and its gentle masking of winter’s mud. As for the mud, we dance in it, once it thaws into warm, soothing goo. As for worship, we pray for the right weather to make seeds grow into myriad green things. We bow our heads to the earth and wonder at the miracles, the bugs and worms and tiny sprouts, that have defied the cold and have given us hope for longer, greener, flowerier days.
I have raised my child to be reverent of many things and irreverent of more. But we are kind. We are tolerant.
As she grows, she may remain as skeptical as her mother about the reason for this season, or she may learn to apply a specific name and schedule and doctrine to her belief system. I’m staying out of it. If she invites me to her place of worship, should it ever move to a less-everywhere place than it is right now, I will join her, as she has always joined me.
We have no name for what we believe, but names don’t matter. Kindness does.