What would Christmas mean to you if you didn t have your faith?

(77 Posts)
sunnyspot Tue 17-Dec-13 17:43:29

Just that really.
I was pondering what I love most about Christmas.
Having fun talking, sharing meals and playing games with family and friends of course, but the highlight is always our candlelit carol service and my faith in God.
Take any of those away and I really don t think I would enjoy it at all..

msmiggins Tue 17-Dec-13 18:09:02

I am an athiest and christmas means a great deal to me. The return of the sun, light, hope, renewal, the joy and love of our family.
I don't need god or jesus to celabrate a festival that has been with us for many thousands of years before the invention of christianity.

mashyup Tue 17-Dec-13 18:16:55

I'm an atheist, Christmas means light in the winter and the nativity is a story about hope. Family, friends, peace, love, compassion.

sunnyspot Tue 17-Dec-13 18:57:38

That's lovely mashyup, I agree.
I have spoken to so many people recently who say they hate it all because they have to buy so much or their children will be disappointed, and they've got family coming who they don't get on with etc etc.
It all seems so sad as that is not what Christmas should be about.

msmiggins Tue 17-Dec-13 19:15:04

sunnyspot- I know a few religious people who have lots of family squabbles. I don't think being religious makes things any easier in terms of getting on with your family.

I'm an atheist. One of my favourite parts is the sparkly lights and decorations up in what would otherwise be a very dark depressing time of year.
I love the sense of family and community you get, there is excitement in the air and we get to be with family and celebrate a winter festival smile

msmiggins Tue 17-Dec-13 19:31:31

And Santa of course- christmas is a very magical time for many of us.

technodad Tue 17-Dec-13 20:25:15

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

msmiggins Tue 17-Dec-13 20:31:44

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 17-Dec-13 20:38:20

When I was an atheist, Christmas meant twinkling lights in the dark winter and sharing food/time with my friends and family.

This hadn't changed since I became a believer. The only real difference for me is I now cry my way through Christmas Eve mass every year.fblush.

msmiggins Tue 17-Dec-13 20:42:15

Dione drink is a terrible thing isn't it. grin

BertieBowtiesAreCool Tue 17-Dec-13 20:45:13

That's unfair. The OP clearly finds a lot of solace in her faith. I think it's nice.

To me it's about tradition, family, celebration. I am not religious but I enjoy singing Christmas songs even if they have a religious base because of the tradition. I am able to enjoy the roots of the story even though I do not follow that particular religion.

msmiggins Tue 17-Dec-13 20:50:36

I thought it was quite funny.
THe OP can do as she likes. Implicit in her post though is that christmas must be pretty meaningless for those of us lost souls who don't do jesus.

She may not be able to enjoy christmas stuck only with the love and company of her family sharing a meal etc,- but many of us can have a ball.

Gunznroses Tue 17-Dec-13 20:51:37

If you are a christian it is more of a religious festival which you celebrate with family and friends.

The OP is pondering if she didn't have her faith what would xmas mean to her, she feels it would be rather empty and is asking others with faith how they would feel.
technodad is out of order to call her life 'sick', OP is not criticizing anyone without faith who celebrates xmas, but her faith has always been at the centre of hers, carol services etc. msmiggins why don't you just admit you hate xtians period because i can't see anything sanctimonious in the OP, its just christianity in itself that raises your hackles?

Gunznroses Tue 17-Dec-13 20:58:24

msmiggins i think you need to read the OP title again because she said 'what would it mean to you if you didn't have faith', not if you don't have faith, BIG difference! You've given it your own ugly twist with that huge axe your holding.

msmiggins Tue 17-Dec-13 21:02:29

But the OP thinks she wouldn't enjoy christmas at all without god- others are pointing out that there is so much more too christmas that even christians use as a way of celebrating.
Christmas can be religious for some, it's also a very important secular festival heavily laden with pagan symbology.
Even most christians celebrate christmas in a very pagan and secular way along with their christian bias, and they don't deny that just bcause they have to do the manger thing.

I can't see how easy it must be to contemplate jesus while helping kids hang up their stocking awaiting the clatter of cloven hooves on the roof.

niminypiminy Tue 17-Dec-13 21:07:27

If I didn't have my faith it would mean what it did for all the years I was an atheist. It would mean decorations, and presents, and spending time with family (with all its lovely and all its horrible bits) and time off work and lots of special telly, and a marker in the year and the beginning of real winter weather, and traditions and carols and sparkly lights. All of that is fine, and some of it is wonderful.

But having faith makes it more special. Now it is about the coming of Jesus into all our lives, about the joy and hope that the Christmas services celebrate, about the special waiting and preparing time of advent, and the journey to Easter.

So it's not that I didn't love Christmas before I was a Christian -- I certainly did. But I love it more now.

LittleBabyPigsus Tue 17-Dec-13 21:07:32

My parents are not religious, I am a Christian. We all enjoy Christmas the same amount I think, just in different ways.

sunnyspot Tue 17-Dec-13 21:08:25

I really didn t intend this thread to become yet another atheist v christian thread.( And thank you mashyup and WoW for an atheist view without the digs)
It was really aimed at believers, wondering what difference their faith makes to them at Christmas.
td - Of course I didn t mean spending time with my family etc have no value without God, and I think you know that. I meant that my faith - as well as my family/friends- makes this time of year extra special FOR ME. I know it doesn t for you, but that wasn t the point of the thread.
Happy Christmas to you all.

msmiggins Tue 17-Dec-13 21:09:57

Sunnyspot that's not very clear from your original post:

"carol service and my faith in God.
Take any of those away and I really don t think I would enjoy it at all"

Gunznroses Tue 17-Dec-13 21:12:29

msmiggins Others are pointing out how they feel about xmas and the things they enjoy which is valid, that however does not invalidate how OP personally would feel if she lost her faith. You don't seem to understand the difference and are trying to mock/humiliate the OP because she mentioned her faith which you don't like.

This really is a very light hearted thread based on personal musings that you're trying to use to stir up a into a fight by insinuating things OP never said. Merry xmas!

sunnyspot Tue 17-Dec-13 21:13:43

Thank you BertieBowties ( love the name!) and Gunzroses for understanding what I meant.

technodad Tue 17-Dec-13 21:31:04

I wasn't intending to (and still don't intend to) make this a christian vs atheist thread either, don't get me wrong.

It is just a very strange thread which is worded in a way that implys that life is not worth living without your faith, which I find really odd. Not because I am not religious, but because I don't think I could ever imagine writing such a negative thing about spending a lovely day with my family.

I think if you had said "Take any of those away and I think it would lose it's edge as my favourite day of the year", then I would have moved on to the next thread without posting. But to say "Take any of those away and I really don t think I would enjoy it at all." suggests something I find a bit unsettling. You have said that you wouldn't enjoy spending a day with your friends and family eating a meal at all, which is strange.

Gunznroses Tue 17-Dec-13 21:42:10

technodad you are trying to think for the OP! Maybe she spends all yr eating and dining with her family and celebrating different ocassions with them so doing it on xmas day is not unpleasant but not particularly special either, her focus on xmas day is the birth of Christ and the religious festivities that goes with it, so if you took that away its not really xmas is it? Its just another day with the family.

sunnyspot Tue 17-Dec-13 21:47:58

td -I'll give one last shot at explaining then I'm going to lie down in a darkened room!!!!
I really don t think I ( I, as in me personally, not speaking for anybody else ) would enjoy Christmas if I didn t have my family,friends and faith around me. And the highlight of my Christmas is being with these friends and family at the carol service.
I really don t know how else to say it.

BertieBowtiesAreCool Tue 17-Dec-13 21:49:18

Yes, you could say the same about marriage - as in, if you have faith marriage is something different than just being in a committed relationship and being committed to each other. Christmas is a celebration with the family and if you have faith, then presumably it adds an extra dimension to that.

Gunznroses Tue 17-Dec-13 21:51:38

Sunnyspot whatever or however you say it, people like this WILL find something wrong with it, the thread couldn't have been clearer, what's getting their hackles up is you having the affront to say that God is the center of your xmas! That is the problem.

msmiggins Tue 17-Dec-13 21:53:33

But that wasn't what you said- you said if you took your faith away the you wouldn't really enjoy it at all- I'm sorry you are shifting your stance here.- people are simply responding to your original post.

technodad Tue 17-Dec-13 21:54:05


Which begs the question of why the thread was started in the first place.

It is like posting a thread titled:

"What would a game of football mean to you without the ball"

Followed by:

"Just that really.
I was pondering what I love most about football.
Having fun swearing, running around and falling over with mates and the referee of course, but the highlight is always kicking the ball, especially getting it in the back of the net.
Take any of those away and I really don t think I would enjoy it at all."

well derrrr, of course you wouldn't like playing football alone, or without a ball, but why start a discussion about it?

The difference is, a game of football without a ball would be pretty shit. But Christmas day without faith can be a brilliant day, possibly the best day of the year.

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 17-Dec-13 21:56:43

Sunnyspot, it's not you. Some people here are very intolerant of believers. Even perfectly worded and posts seeking support are twisted and used in their crusade against beliefs.fsad

technodad Tue 17-Dec-13 21:57:53

msmiggins said "But that wasn't what you said- you said if you took your faith away the you wouldn't really enjoy it at all- I'm sorry you are shifting your stance here.- people are simply responding to your original post."

If the thread title has asked the question: "What would Christmas mean to you if you didn t have your faith?"

People have provided a view point!

I am going to lie down in a dark room now, since I don't think you could have been any less clear about your intentions for this thread!

technodad Tue 17-Dec-13 21:58:44

Dione - Some people here are very intolerant of believers. Even perfectly worded and posts seeking support are twisted and used in their crusade against beliefs.

examples please.

The OP clearly points out that she doesn't think that she would enjoy Christmas without her faith. Why does every thread have to turn into a faith vs no faith thread?

I hate these sanctimonius christian types. I would say the same about sanctimonius athiests.

technodad Tue 17-Dec-13 22:03:29

The thread title clearly asks a question (it even has a question mark), why are people only allowed to answer the question if they agree with the OP?

msmiggins Tue 17-Dec-13 22:03:44

Why do christians have to start threads claiming the moral and proprietorial high ground?

Helpyourself Tue 17-Dec-13 22:05:19

Lots of people don't enjoy Christmas. It's a stressful time with big pressure to buy lots of stuff and spend time inside with relations you don't see much of.
I don't think having a faith makes it much more special, gives a context perhaps. Easter is the more relevant festival.

BertieBowtiesAreCool Tue 17-Dec-13 22:07:33

shock I don't come onto this section very often, am shocked at these responses. Is it usual on here? I don't think the OP was looking for any kind of high ground at all. She was sharing what makes Christmas special FOR HER. Not in any way saying that it's "less special" for others. Just that SHE feels it would be less special FOR HER.

Why do some posters insist on taking offence at somebody enjoying something that they don't believe in?

Where has the OP claimed the moral high ground.

She said that she wouldn't enjoy it because her favourite things are things associated with faith. She did not say that everyone should feel the same.

Is it usual on here

Unfortunately it is. There are some posters who want to attack anyone with faith. It is not a safe place to post sad.

technodad Tue 17-Dec-13 22:12:23

Maybe posters need to be clearer with their thread titles then!

Seems clear enough to me.

technodad Tue 17-Dec-13 22:17:10


Is isn't really the most offensive comment in the world. Sure, I was a little bit inflamatory, but it is nothing in comparison with some comments christians have made to atheists on MN.

For example, I can post you a link where a christian told the mother of a dead child that god caused the child's death because she (the mother) needed to develop spiritually!

mercibucket Tue 17-Dec-13 22:18:50

i dont see it as anything to do with jesus tbh. before i was christian it was about a mid winter festival and now i am christian it is still a mid winter festival
nothing in the bible about celebrating it
i dont think jesus woukd have wanted his birth celebrated (just my pov)
it isnt when he was born
it doesnt celebrate his life and actions
it is timed to coincide with winter solstice

i love christmas as a winter festival

No this board it isn't a safe place to post as there are atheists who post here who hate Christians and do not respect anyone of faith although I notice that they don't have a go on the Islamic threads only the Christian ones.

To return to the OP. It was a long time ago that I did not have faith but I loved the family and feasting and party element of the midwinter break and still do. What makes this time of year special for me as a believer is midnight mass when the church goes quiet just before we start the service and we have arrived; Christmas as a religious festival can start now. Silence, then carols and candles and the familiar words of the mass and John 1 1-14. Love it. Then it is back to the feasting and family and party bit.

Annunziata Tue 17-Dec-13 22:25:09

I love being a Catholic at Christmas. I was telling my DD about the baby Jesus and we went to see the crib, and I was thinking how lucky I am to be able to share that with her. It is just so happy.

I think it brings me closer to Our Lady as well, thinking of her in that cold dark stable with all the animals, with her wee boy.

I also get quite teary, thinking about back home and how they will be in Mass at this time, doing all the same things that we are doing. It's such a special link, and back to my childhood and to my grandparents as well.

Helpyourself Tue 17-Dec-13 22:37:17

fhmm and fgrin at the iconoclastic posters yawn lower casing Jesus.

technodad Tue 17-Dec-13 22:37:18

This isn't an unsafe place to be, don't be melodramatic.

I love loads of Religious people, even if I don't agree with them.

I also enjoy a good debate.

However, to say I don't respect anyone with faith is simply not true!

For example: www.mumsnet.com/Talk/philosophy_religion_spirituality/1939441-Shooting-stars-symbolism

There is an Islamic area - I'll be back in 20 mins.

I think the 'I hate these sanctimonius christian types' is a bit of a clue. Hate is a strong emotion and in the medium of the internet where all body language and nuances of tone are lost then someone expressing hate is going to come across as very negative.

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 17-Dec-13 23:01:03

Greenheart, you say you "have noticed that they don't have a go on the Islamic threads". There have been some very anti Islamic threads recently.

technodad Tue 17-Dec-13 23:04:09

And I presume you have to be atheist to be anti-Islamic do you?

You assume atheists are anti Christian too.

DoctorTwoTurtleDoves Tue 17-Dec-13 23:05:00

I love Chris(t)mas. I like Christ. I don't like many of the people who claim to be Christians. People like Blair, Camoron, IBS, Bush etc. They're so unlike your Christ.

I'm an atheist who is more Christian in outlook than the wankers I mention above. I'm a peace loving anti bankster just as the Jebus in your holy book was. What a pity the cunts we have in charge are so far removed from that.

sunnyspot Tue 17-Dec-13 23:11:32

Thanks to Greenheart and Annunziata for trying to get the thread back on track.
What is the norm in these situations ? Do we just have to wait for the de-railers to get fed up and go elsewhere or do we try and carry on in between the digs?
I love hearing about what makes Christmas special for people.
Shall we try again tomorrow ?

Night all.

mercibucket Tue 17-Dec-13 23:11:38

yeah, helpyourself, and after all jesus' messages about the importance of punctuation, too

Gunznroses Tue 17-Dec-13 23:12:11

technodad There is nothing begging the question! its not for you to decide what people can or cannot post here, it is a public forum and OP has not broken any rules. People post for the most trivial of reasons, some are simple musings, some very serious matters needing guidance, some just for a laugh, some simply because they are bored and are you actually justifying your vitriol spill by saying Christians do it to Muslims ???? that's your defence ?? why don't we all go and hurl abuse at random xtians then because some Christians somewhere did it to Muslims. You should be ashamed of yourself!

msmiggins I'm sorry you are shifting your stance here.- people are simply responding to your original post.

OP hasn't changed her stance, you just need to get your head out of the gutter! as far as 'people' are concerned the thread was going quite well sharing what xmas meant to them, only you and technodad have said horrible things to the OP.

Helpyourself Tue 17-Dec-13 23:25:21

That wasn't so much to you merci you type everything in lowercase, whatevs.
Up thread there were posters not using capitals, specifically for the name, which is a bit yawn.

technodad Tue 17-Dec-13 23:32:49

Hold on Guns

It is you trying to control who can post and what can be posted, not me.

Gunznroses Tue 17-Dec-13 23:40:42

technodad :
Which begs the question of why the thread was started in the first place.

Back to that dark room of yours for a lie down!

GoshAnneGorilla Tue 17-Dec-13 23:43:44

Actually, Technodad, it's not the Christians on here who give Muslims a hard time, it's the atheists.

This was a perfectly light hearted pondering thread and instead of saying "I don't understand why you feel that way OP because..."

You instead called the OP "sick", a term usually used for perverts or abusers.

As for me, I am sick - in the nauseous sense, sick to the back teeth that no one can discuss their faith, even in a section dedicated to it, without some miserable atheist picking a fight and throwing insults.

Thread after thread gets derailed. Even people starting a thread to look for a church will be derailed by some demanding busy body wanting to know why they are religious.

I do not know what you hope to achieve, but it's not just me who finds it extremely tiresome.

technodad Wed 18-Dec-13 00:35:36


HavantGuard Wed 18-Dec-13 00:46:53

I am an atheist. For me what we call Christmas is the (much needed!) winter festival of light. It existed before Christianity was invented. We eat lovely food (put away and preserved from the harvest) and light candles and spend time with the people we love in celebration that we've passed the mid point of winter and we're all still here. Next stop spring!

HavantGuard Wed 18-Dec-13 00:48:59

Sorry for answering, as the question is addressed only to Christians, so doesn't actually apply to me.

Looking at your link technodad, it seems you have a problem with anyone believing in anything.

Why is that?

technodad Wed 18-Dec-13 07:45:53

I don't have a problem with people believing anything. It is completly up to them

I think it is a shame that people are scared that a family member will die whenever they see a shooting star and I know that there are rational justifications for things that happen in the world. I also feel strongly that other peoples religions should not have a right over the wishes of others.

Anyway, since I have the tendency to respond to questions on this forum with my opinion (you know, sentences with a question mark at the end of them, like in grammar), you had probably not ask me more questions on this thread. Doing so will only derail the thread further from that intended (rather un-clearly) by the OP. I suggest you start a new thread and ask me there (which I will reply to when I get home from work).

Unlike others, I try to not avoid answering questions I don't like the sound of.

DecorKateTheXmasTreeMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 18-Dec-13 12:34:56

Hello everyone,

Thank you to those who brought this thread to our attention.

Obviously atheists and agnostics are absolutely free to post about their belief (or lack of it) but we think it's not really on to come on to a thread like this and appear to sneer at people's strongly-held beliefs, or call them 'sick' or 'sanctimonious'.

Reasoned argument is absolutely fine, but name-calling isn't really on - so we've deleted some posts.

Merry Christmas everyone flowers

headinhands Wed 18-Dec-13 12:52:28

I'm an atheist who used to be a church going Christian so can give you a clear answer to what Christmas is like without a belief in god for me and it's actually okay op smile I still sing carols and spend time with family, the only difference is that I don't believe that the nativity happened but it's still a story that I can enjoy as I do any story that takes me back to my childhood.

technodad Wed 18-Dec-13 13:24:42

Why can't one argue that someone is slightly perverse for not enjoying spending a day with their moated loved family? Especially on a thread when the title seemed to request a point of view?

Don't worry, we shall just add censorship to the list of other controls that religion exercises on our daily lives (schools, monarchy, House of Lords, cover-ups, wars, etc).

I shan't post in this thread again. Laters!

niminypiminy Wed 18-Dec-13 16:52:58

TD if you're leaving this thread you won't see this, but I'm going to say it anyway.

You are the perverse one, because you have perverted everything the OP and all those who have tried to explain to you have said.

At no point has any Christian said they don't enjoy spending a day with their beloved family. YOU are the only one who has said that -- again and again, in the face of everyone who's tried to correct you. That is a perversion of the facts and of the truth.

I don't know if Katemumsnet is a Christian or not, but mumsnet do have a policy of deleting posts that contravene their rules -- and it's their site. Break the rules, take the consequences. That's not Christians imposing censorship.

GoshAnneGorilla Wed 18-Dec-13 16:54:43

Technodad - Free speech does not apply to internet forums. Talk guidelines clearly state that posts which break guidelines get deleted. That isn't censorship. HTH.

Gingerdodger Wed 18-Dec-13 18:58:51

I think Christmas without faith would be a lovely time for feasting and family, for hopefully, spreading a bit of joy and peace and thinking about others.

Christmas with faith is all of the above but with an added dimension. The story of the nativity is bleak in many ways, a child born in poverty and under dictatorial regimes in dangerous times, this gives me a sense of the enormous love of God. It is also a story of hope and the aspiration of peace to the world born of that same child. It makes me think and reflect on God's love and gives me renewed strength of faith.

msmiggins Wed 18-Dec-13 20:17:42

Christmas is a magical time.
Foremost I love the company and love of those around me.
I love the expectation, the frivolity, all the wonderful traditions that have woven the magical fabric from eons before that surrounds us at this time of year.
The Norse traditions of Santa, the Pagan, Greek Roman and Celtic mythology that has given us flying reindeer, stockings to be filled, christmas trees, Yule logs, Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe. I love the preserved fruits and wines that we use, the oriental spices that we have come to know and associate with christmas.
I love the majesty of the spheres, the fact that for a moment in time the earth which weigh 6,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000 Kg stops tilting. I love the amazing mathematical explanations that allow us to use calculus to predict day length. I love to the idea of the geometrists and geomancers of old who were able to grasp these concepts.
I love the idea of the return of our 4.6 billion year old sun returning the day after midwinter giving us new hope in our depths of winter- a sign that warmth and light and growth will again return.
Christmas has many profound and special meanings for me.

sunnyspot Wed 18-Dec-13 20:31:28

Just managed to get back on to the thread -manic time of year at work for me!
HavantGuard - I love hearing about how atheists spend Christmas too. The only reason I said about the thread maybe only being for Christians was because at that point I was coming under attack which I really wanted to stop. But lots of other atheists, including yourself, have posted some really lovely things they find special at Christmas. You're right, Christmas is a much needed light in the middle of winter.
I know many non believers also come to our church over Christmas as they enjoy the singing, candles etc. There is a real sense of community.
Gingerdodger - I agree about the added dimension. I feel a huge sense of warmth(despite the weather!) and peace at this time of year.

SunshinemMum Thu 19-Dec-13 23:14:35

Thanks for the thread Sunny, some really thought provoking posts and of course some goading. We came to faith quite late. Christmas was and is special to us, it has a different context for us now.

ErrolTheDragon Thu 19-Dec-13 23:28:59

I came to give an answer much like headinhands. I think it means more to me now because I have a child - whoever said its better to give than to receive had that bang on! wink

Peace on Earth, goodwill to all humankind. smile

specialsubject Fri 20-Dec-13 18:44:19

time off work without having to grovel for it!

sunnyspot Fri 20-Dec-13 18:54:18

Couldn t agree more Errol about the giving.
Someone - can t remember who! - said that true happiness lies in giving without expecting anything in return. And it doesn t have to be expensive- just something to bring a smile to someone's face.
At Christmas the children at our church bring gifts they have chosen to send to those children who have nothing. My dcs did that when they were little and continue to do it now they are adults!

Elizabeth1960 Mon 06-Jan-14 17:21:26

I use to celebrate christmas many years ago, and I understand why people love the warmth and glow of it all, but since learning that xmas was celebrated before Christs birth and that it is a pagan festival adopted by the church to entice the pagans, I no longer celebrate it. When I see the greed, dept and and loneliness associated with it, yet I understand how it brings a moment of happiness in the cold of winter.

So do you go to church on Christmas Day then and ignore the feasting and present giving bit?

I've just taken my tree down, 12th Night and all, and the house does look very bare.

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