In the Midwest, where I grew up, religion was just simply a natural component of life. I learned to snow ski on church youth group trips, met a couple of boyfriends through wistful glances across aligned pews, AAU basketball practices housed in church gyms, took part in theatrical church productions as a lamb ( of god) or an angel. Hell, I even wore a beach towel on my head once as a tragic Halloween ” look alike a bible character” contest failure.
3rd grade CCD classes never inspired me, in fact memorizing verses caused more anxiety. Mini van rides over to church were insufferable.
My outstretched hand, always greeted by the echo of my muffled whisper of ” peace be with you.”
I have vivid memories of Aaron B. sticking his foot out and tripping me during a church youth group relay race. A compound fracture and surgery definitely helped me feel closer to god.
Standing in line for my first communion discussing with Andy what church laws I broke left me in a dead sweat. Then being told that we had to disclose this info face- to- face with Father Funky ( honestly his name) left me impaired. Oh god why do I laugh when I’m nervous.
Despite being a social Christian, None of these altruistic rites of passage left me with the Holy Spirit. In fact I felt infinitely guilty for not believing. In what?
I wanted for my son what I never thought was possible, a choice.
Besides being a social template, I wanted Christianity to be enlightening. To hear the quiet understanding of Quakers, to feel the expansion of Yom Kippur, to feel the magnitude of a Morman congregation, to understand the kindness of Islam, and the necessary reasoning of Buddhism.
To celebrate Christmas, for us, is to embody the diversity of faith and to love the creation of my family. To be moral is an inherent characteristic not an exclusive religious rite. To love and show compassion is to empathetically understand that faith is not derived from only one path, but numerous paths that have the same destination .christmas is love.
I love you Aaron.