I walked away from Christian faith shortly before Easter of this year. During that time I talked to my friends and my therapist about the changes in my thinking and the posture of my heart. I wrote on this blog. I did all these things to process and allow myself the breathing room to navigate this major shift in my life.
After all, Christianity has been a dominant force in my life. Gradually moving away from that and simultaneously trying to forge a different way forward were all uncharted territory for me.
As Christmas approaches these same thoughts are resurfacing.
The difference now is that I’ve had a few months to get a better footing on what my own thinking and beliefs have evolved to.
So far it’s looked like a commitment to the label Agnostic and the surrender to uncertainty that it entails.
It’s also looks like developing a personal life ethic which so far amounts to a devotion to self care, honesty, responsibility, compassion, inner healing, fitness, mindfulness and the pursuit of equanimity.
Regarding spirituality I’m finding the appeal of Omnism and especially the Vedic principle of Dharma.
All of this reflection brings me to Advent.
My adoration and devotion to Christ in years prior always seemed to find it’s primary resonance and peak around this time of year.
Christmas songs and their evocation of a God become man for the entire world as an ineffable gift created this whole other level of expectation, longing, joy and hope inside me.
It was the best time of year as far as I was concerned. I would go to Midnight mass and sing carols and smell incense. I didn’t care that I wasn’t Orthodox or Catholic that wasn’t the point lol. It was my desire to place myself in environments that reflected the grandeur of what my belief was doing inside me in relation to all that Advent meant.
With Advent this year I feel a quietness where there was once excitement.
I do not yet know what this absence of faith will mean for me.
I attempt to process it even as I type this.
Those same songs of the unmatched gift of God to humanity by becoming humanity no longer stir me.
They no longer stir me because I don’t know if there is a God. Much less the idea of God that Christians espouse that says that God became human.
It’s a beautiful thought., but I can’t celebrate that thought anymore in clear conscience.
There is literally a rewiring of the neural pathways of my brain that associated the beauty, awe and worship this time of year around these beliefs. I wonder what they will be replaced with?
What’s going to happen in my mind and heart when I hear Pentatonix, or Mannheim Steam Roller, Donny Hathoway, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, or the Trans-Siberian Orchestra?
What’s going to happen in my mind when I taste egg nog, or smell fresh pine, or watch A Wonderful Life for the fifty-leventh time?
These things brought added joy to me because I knew behind them was the idea of the greatest gift and story ever told. What happens when the idea of that gift disappears?
I don’t know.
This will be my first truly secular Christmas and I’m preparing myself for that.
One thing gives me consolation.
It’s that in walking away from discipleship to the man Jesus (and with it the beliefs, systems, traditions and institutions surrounding him) I’ve found and am continuing to find myself.
Prior to this, my worship of the Christian God and the Christian message meant forsaking my personhood and or allowing my personhood to be subsumed in the idea of this man Jesus.
Now, it’s just me. and I’m finding ever deepening beauty in the solitude of my own existence and autonomy in life.
In the moments and passing days I come to terms with my own “being” and try to take hold of those things that are invisible yet tangible. Things like, love, hope, mind, and consciousness.
I may not be certain there is a God but there is peace for me in the aforementioned invisible things.
I also believe in humanity.
I believe in our capacity for innovation and evolution. I believe in the power for us to consciously move towards better tomorrows and a better world.
As advent approaches I wonder this time around if our stories behind God becoming man point to something deeper.
I wonder if humanity is searching for God within ourselves when we celebrate such things year after year.
If so, maybe reaching for such heights so deep within will change everything.