Yesterday (Sunday) evening we took the baubles and lights from the tree, decs from around the house and reverted to a slightly duller but more spacious house. I played classical music as I always do when handling Christmas decorations (in this case Handel's The Lark) because that feels right for the season (last year I played Rend Collective, which became almost unbearable with the emotional tension crafted into the album).
We had agreed to spend this Christmas seeing people, and so it was with travel 4 days out of the first 5. Great to reconnect/maintain friendships and make/keep in contact with rellies, but those I should have expected to have the deepest contact turned out the most shallow, while those that had been surface previously were far deeper than I'd known before. I also had to work a couple of days (and came into the lab on Christmas and New year's day to look after the cryostorage system) plus we took my mother out to Waddesdon to see the house and Christmas decorations (Dixie, if you ever decide to come over in December then you need to visit this place).
I think I just did my first non-Christian Christmas.
In the middle of it all, it just seemed like a holiday break with nice food and lots of travel - almost a complete break from the God-stuff, except for remembering to pray for a few people in critical places*. It wasn't a case of either denying or intentionally shutting God out, but with a gap between church meetings and becoming self-absorbed over the period, my focus shifted right away. Religious stuff has never been my thing, seasons mean little too, but I've never before had a Christmas without God involved as much as this one; it was as though time was susended, and I walked through the 'holiday' outside of my normal life.
In case you're wondering, I've not gone off to some post-Christian place in my thinking now, but there was a distinct need to stir myself post new-year, make effort instead of just being to be with God.
What should I learn from this? That I'm not 'wonderful' (like that's news). That when left to my own devices I naturally wander off? In a way it confirms what I always thought about Christian religion: that it's done that way so that those who don't live it have it lived for them, and they can just step into a different set of shoes for the festival. I hope theres more to learn that just that, however, and more than just which Nikon lenses are best and most affordable too.
Wonder if I'll remember to do next Christmas differently too?
*I also did my normal daily bible reading: working through Revelation, which will never feel the same after reading about the early church in Eusebius' history.