A Christless Christmas (2021)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

I write this on the 27th of December 2020. The blog is now a fair way behind, but I hope to keep the Christmas and New Years blog posts written a year in advance on or around the date to keep the themes going strong.

You can read ‘A Christless Christmas (2020) here, where I explore what Christmas used to be for me, something I will continue to do on this blog post.

I realised this Christmas that it had been a year since I had stepped down from church leadership. A year since I had stepped back, and I hadn’t seen or heard from 98% of the church congregation. Sure, some of this will be linked to Covid-19 and the fucking mental year we have all had. I wonder when this goes live if ‘life will be back to normal’ by then if there really is such a thing as ‘normal’. Regardless of Covid, it’s broken me to have so little love and support for so many I served. I wanted to pour my life into that Church, and in return, I nearly lost it all.

I have a few people from the church that I meet with regularly, two to be precise, but that is it. I went for a walk with the other church leader and their family a few days ago, and I mentioned that I had only seen him twice in 2020 apart from this walk, and the time I met him before that was in Dec to step away from church leadership completely. No more serving & no more lying. He informed me of the different life situations that had come up around him for support and comfort since Dec 2019. I said that was good and smiled, but it broke me. I’ve had nothing from our old church in Leeds, nothing from the wider New Frontiers team and nothing from the church I was a leader in.

No one has come to us. No one has helped us along. Christians, at least all the Christians I know, they support Christians. I remember reading about how Christians did such great work in the first few centuries when it began, for everyone in need. Fuckers, so much false hope. My wife, teetering on the brink of deconversion, has had nothing.

Christmas can’t help but be a time of reflection and refocus. Most of us, and I am aware a few can’t, but most of us stop working for at least Christmas day. We take stock of the family we have (and might be able to see depending on restrictions) and how we are with them. It allows us to be reminded about what is important, about how we are with those we love and what we want from this life.

This is why I love meditation. It’s the ultimate reflection on the present and in that place, you can look to other areas of your life as these things naturally arise. For example, it’s 05:50 in the morning as I write this, and I know my boys will be awake shortly. I want to spend today with them as much as I can whilst being present. I have a renewed vigour for this due to stepping back from work and from trying to refresh my mind and being.

Where is God in all of this? Well, this was a massive part of my journey. I can’t find Him anywhere. If God is here, then He is behind a wall (in my mind)? and there is no way in. This isn’t a wall I have built, as many Christians would no doubt want to suggest that it is of my making. I wanted and needed God to be there, but when I stopped, reflected, thought about it, and looked at my life, this world and reality around us, He disappeared without a trace.

Christmas is a tough time for many. Family members have gone, things have changed, life moves on. Christ is not on the throne, because the throne and Christ seem to have been metaphorical fabrications that we created to give meaning and hope into the lives we lived.

Wherever you find yourself, and in whatever situation.

Enjoy family, enjoy food, be present with yourself and notice how you are in this moment right now.

The reality is we have a finite amount of everything, and it is possible to make the most of this Christmas season, so do so, and enjoy.

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As always, your support enables When Belief Dies to grow, so please consider hitting ‘support’ at the top of this page. You will also find links to the YouTube Channel, Podcast and social accounts up there. You can subscribe via email at the bottom of this post. This blog is roughly twelve to twenty-four months behind where I currently am in my journey out of religion. It’s important to remember that when reading and commenting. –Sam

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