Keywords: Solstice, secular holidays, the “nones”
Here’s a letter I had published in the Register Guard on Dec 30, 2019 with the title: Solstice is for everyone. It is an argument against the concept of a “secular Christmas”.
As a reminder, roughly 30% of the U.S. and 70% of the world’s population are not Christian. About 25% of the U.S. population does not associate with any religion. In fact, the nonreligious (often referred to as the “nones”) are the fastest growing “religion” in the U.S. I’ve seen studies that say up to 40% of the youngest generations in the U.S. are nones. I also remember a study suggesting that up to 50% of people are actually atheists even if they don’t consciously acknowledge it to themselves. Why call yourself Christian if you don’t believe in Christ as you savior?
Solstice instead of Christmas
I appreciate Lila Harper’s perspective in Tuesday’s Guest View and the recent reminder by a Rabbi that Christmas is about Christ. But secularism goes beyond forms of Judaism and the Rabbi doesn’t explicitly say, “If you’re not celebrating Christ, don’t call it Christmas.” Calling it so promotes a religion you don’t believe in and many Christians will assume you are Christian no matter how many denials you make. There are alternative names.
The Solstice is the natural event when daylight starts to increase. This changing of the seasons is critical to life on Earth as we know it. Most religions have attempted to replace this natural event with a supernatural one. But it was celebrated long before any portion of any bible was written. Gift giving, lights on trees, and even Santa (Saint) Claus have pre-Christian origins. There is no reason you can’t do these or any other type of celebration you want as part of Solstice.
This is not a rose which “by any other name would smell as sweet”. This is an expression of what your beliefs are. Find a name for this celebration that means something to you, rather than to other people.