Sunday, December 04, 2005


"You're not going to get me to tingle."

That bizarre sentence fell from Adam's lips last night in the midst of a quarrel over Christmas. Blame intelligent design. At Adam's recommendation, I was reading Margaret Talbot's excellent New Yorker article on the trial to determine whether intellligent design will be taught in Dover, Pennsylvania. I expressed my displeasure for the tactics of the Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan (which gets mention in Talbot's piece). Adam responded with some observations about the "intimidation of the intellect" that goes on in organized religion as a whole, and lamented religious people's need for "consoling illusions like the afterlife." This lead to a discussion of miracles... which lead to a discussion of our respective family's religious orientations... which lead to a discussion of the rationality or intolerance of secular academics... which eventually lead to a heated and teary discussion about Christmas, which Adam and I will celebrate on our own for the very first time this year.

Actually, Christmas didn't come up until after we'd put the first part of our argument to rest, and had, against better judgment, brought in our first-ever Christmas tree in from the garage. Christmas tree stands are designed to bring out the worst in people, I swear, and never more so than when the people in question happen to be stressed out and exhausted.

We managed to keep silent during the struggles with the tree stand. And, given my girth, it was Adam who had to slither under and around the tree to tighten and re-tighten a dozen, ill-fitting screws. For myself, I had only to hold the tree upright and inhale its fragrant green. Which started to put me in a pretty good mood.

But, to Adam, Christmas is a sham. The "most fake of all the holidays." Most of what passes for the Christmas season depresses me as well, I will admit. I hate the crowds at the stores and supermarkets. I hate the ridiculous frenzy of useless material goods. And, okay, so I'm not especially enchanted with a lot of Christiantity these days. I still think it's a mistake to throw out everything that was and is good about the holiday.

To be continued...


At 12:51 PM, Blogger aqua said...

Oh, yes, the perpetual Christmas problem. My husband and I go through that periodically as well. And I think it gets even more complicated when children are involved. I agree with you, though. Christmas can be saved. I am not in the least religious (or materialistic), but you can turn a holiday into what you want it to be.

At 10:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somewhere in the Talmud it's asked why we-- Jews-- always say--God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob (and now God of Sarah, God of Leah, God of Rachel, too) when we pray. One answer given is that every generation has to reencounter God. No generation has every not had to find it's own way through its religious identity. It's a necessity.

At 4:08 PM, Blogger YelloCello said...

Thank you very much for these thoughts, Aqua and Anonymous. I should write/reflect more on this.


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