Baby Jesus Season

Baby Jesus Season will be here soon. In a few short weeks, people will head out to Christmas church services, concerts, plays, potlucks, perhaps even a carolling session — all of which will be focussed around the birth of the Saviour of the world, the Messiah, the King of kings, the Lord of lords.
I used to be a “believer,” and I was all in. I was serious about it. Involved. Passionate. Even though the Christmas season has never been my most favourite time of the year, I was still a participant in many of the Baby Jesus festivities and enjoyed doing so. Even now, as I wear the “agnostic-leaning-towards-atheist” label, I look back on that chapter of my life and think about the times that were good.
Defintely, the Christmas potlucks…the combination of home-cooked food, tons of people, decorations, and singing along with the old piano in the church basement…how could that not be a fun time?
The carolling…a dozen or so of us youth group members, packing into a few cars and driving to houses and nursing homes, singing a cappella and spreading holiday cheer to others….
There were the endless Nativity displays at churches. And the concerts — not just one per season, but maybe two or three! Why not? The birth of our Saviour was kind of a big deal.
And there were the quieter moments. One Christmas, a year or two before Christianity began slipping out of my grasp, a small church in my hometown needed a piano player for their service. I’m certainly no professional on piano, but I could play well enough to accompany the congregation as they sang “Angels from the Realms of Glory” and “Silent Night.” Several times before the service, I’d pick up the church key from the janitor’s house, and I’d go to the church to practise on the piano there. I loved it. I loved worship music, period. It seemed so enriching, deep, personal, sacred.
And then, and then…it all began slipping away. That hurt a lot. It seemed that the world was so dark and empty. What all seemed so real and wonderful just…slipped away. My belief system crumbled. I couldn’t pray anymore. I couldn’t sing the songs anymore. People’s conversations about God just seemed so foreign. I tried for a long time to keep it up, to keep trying, to give it yet another chance — another service, another book, another prayer. But still, it slipped away.
Some days, I feel like I could hold onto the sadness forever. I think that that is somewhat understandable — after all, it is no small thing to lose one’s religious faith. And then I am reminded in a hundred ways how important it is to let go of what no longer works. Release. Move forward. Release some more. Ease up on the ruminating. There is no time limit for grief, but there does come a time when a person has to loosen their grip on the past, the sadness, the anger. Sometimes there comes a time when that grip no longer does any good to anyone.
So, Baby Jesus Season will soon be here. As I walk past the churches and the Nativity displays and as I hear the carols being played in coffee shops and malls, I am beginning to realize that I have become occupied with other things. I can often remain emotionally distant from all these things that used to mean so much to me. Sometimes it takes a very conscious effort to occupy myself with other thoughts, and at other times it’s just natural to move forward. Christianity no longer reaches into seemingly every area of my life. And Christmas isn’t just about the birth of the Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father.
My wish is that no matter your “Reason for the Season,” it’s a happy time for you. Merry Christmas!
By Tania K.
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