Solstice stories: the agnostic's Christmas letter

Every year on Christmas Eve I look for a way to express love.  For years I felt, as the non-religious sort, the true import of this holiday was a bit lost on me, but continued celebrating in my own way. now chronicles fully a quarter of my existence on this earth, and combining that with a search function often serves to bring the arc of my life into clearer, simpler focus.

Other people focus solely on Christmas, but the entries of the past eight years tell me that this period of the year, this time of shortened days and year-end celebrations, matters as much to me as that one single day matters to most of you reading this entry.  I am not celebrating a religious event, but I am using the excuse of darkened, chilly days to re-evaluate my place in this life and the people I share it with.

I light words against the darkness, and leave them for you to find.  Here are two images from Christmas Eves come and gone:

In the end, most of us still have it right: when we think of this holiday we think not of the gifts, but the people we shared those gifts with. Lose someone you care about, and you will think about them during the holiday season for the rest of your life.

The weight of memory can be difficult to bear, so difficult that sometimes we lose track of how precious the people still in our lives are to us. Those of us who mourn for what was once, without celebrating the now, tend to forget that as of next year, this day falls into the category of "what was."

On this holiday, celebrate what is. By all means, remember those you have lost, but celebrate those who are still in your life.

Tonight, I may or may not have the mug of hot chocolate, since I won't be at home, but you'll be in my thoughts.
- What was and what is, Christmas Eve 2004


I realize that we must respect and honor the many ways that people choose to [not?] celebrate the Christmas season, but I did a bit of online research just now and have conclusively determined that food poisoning is not a way of celebrating Christmas in any culture.
- The house with no cookies, the day before Christmas Eve 2003

and finally...

I could not have imagined you, all of you, in all your contradictions and contrariness and complexity, and I am grateful that I could not, for I would have learned less had I anticipated more.
- Orion's gift, Christmas Eve 2005

I've temporarily moved that entry back to the front page.  I got it right that year.

For each of you, and whichever holiday you're celebrating ... I'm glad you're here.


*chucks a fish at you* hmmm, it only reached my bedroom door... i'll try again next month when i see you for PHE...

i'm glad you're here too... and jeff... and fang 1 and 2...

*throws a snowball back*

Yes, indeed, PHE.  I can't believe we suckered Jason into hosting this year, but that's going to make Fang 1 and Fang 2 much happier cat-critters.

i think we've just created potential dr. seuss-ish characters...

As Christmas day finally comes to a close for another year in sunny Melbourne, I'm pleased to say it was a very enjoyable day with our family.  Too much great food eaten (thank you Katrina) and everyone eventually left our place feeling happy with the day, but tired!  For most of us there is no religious significance for today but I don't believe it matters - it is what you make of it. 

Merry Christmas to you an Jeff.



I don't know what took me so long to read your Solstice stories. I kept the email about the upgrade issues in my inbox as a reminder. And yet I never actually clicked the link. I've read other posts you have written since then, so there really is no excuse.

But I'm glad i finally did. The way you write, the thoughtfulness that goes into each words, is amazing. Even if I only knew one or two of the people you wrote about, it didn't matter. You gave a perfect glimpse into their relationship with you. You always write beautifully and descriptively, but these posts in particular show how important these people are to you.

I know I'll probably never be able to make it to PHE. Art sometimes gets aggravated about how busy my January and February are. I just with there was sometime other than D*C when we could get together and just talk. The same with Jeff. When we found out that we have so much in common, so much to talk about, it honestly made me very happy. It is difficult to click so easily with people that you know about but don't KNOW. And I feel like your friendship is definitely something I don't want to let slip by.