Yule and Christmas #Yule #Christmas #Yuletide #Xmas #TrueMeaningOfChristmas

yule

I am an atheist. That doesn’t mean I hate God or am angry with him for not making me wealthy or genitally blessed; I simply don’t think he exists. I wasn’t abused as a child, I’m not in deep pain or distress, I don’t see a shrink, and I’m not a Devil-worshipper. I simply think that the facts do not show that God or gods are real. Furthermore, I think the facts show that, on the balance of probabilities, the Christian story (and the Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, and so on) is not true. I see the lot as myth.

Yet Christmas is the most important day of the year for atheists.

Let’s not forget at this time of the year, that Christmas always has had Christian and non-Christian elements. I tend to use the word “Yule” for this non-Christian festival that takes place around the Winter solstice. Yule, the olden Germanic, pre-Christian winter time of feasting. Holly, snow, pine trees, yule logs, feasting: this is just as much as a part of the season of “Christmas” as mangers, three kings, Bethlehem, and Jesus.

Yule is the festival of friends, family, feasting, boozing.

And yes, Yule is the time for thinking of others, gentleness, giving, and reflection.

But for me, there is no incarnation of God who was born this day.

Let us all respect each other at this time: Christians and, err, Yuleians.

So Merry Christmas and a Happy Yule 2016 to you all!

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://sheamacleod.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/yule.jpg

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The True Meaning of Christmas #Yule #Christmas #TrueMeaningOfChristmas

spirit_of_yuleChristmas, Xmas, Noel, Yule. So many names. But why? Christmas: Christ-mass. That one’s simple enough. “X” is the first letter of the word Christ in Greek (Χριστος), hence Xmas. Noel comes from French, and ultimately the Latin, for “birth” [that is, of Jesus]. Yule, on the other hand, was originally the name for a heathen feast of around the same period in Northern Europe. Yule is therefore the homeborn English word.

But what is the true meaning of Christmas? Father Christmas, gifts, and feasting? Family, charity, peace on Earth? The baby Jesus?

As a non-Christian, I like to use Yule to consciously stand for the cultural, as opposed to religious, celebration. Why? Because “Christmas” is and always has been about more than just Christianity. The Church, in a rather savvy move, would often recast local heathen festivals in a Christian mould. And the winter festivities were no different. Therefore, the Christian aspect is but one part of the Christmas period. So why should I tacitly let Christians take the Christmas period as their own, let them dictate to me and the rest of society how, when, and why I should celebrate the period? Christmas is as much mine as it is a Christian’s. Eventually the word Yule fell out of use, except in some dialects, and was brought back to mainstream life in the nineteenth century. Therefore Christians can keep the word Christmas if they like; the rest of us have Yule.

I don’t celebrate Christmas. I celebrate Yule. Happy Yule, everybody!

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

article adapted from my article Yule and the Months posted at my blog Wrixlings.

featured image from http://americanhumanist.org/HNN/details/2012-12-out-with-christmas-in-with-yule