Something to Think About

"I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Friday, December 2, 2011

It's the holiday season...

And so the awkward time of the year begins...

As a non-believer, I'm not always comfortable with some activities around the office as we near Christmas. For example, yesterday the office Christmas tree was set up and we were all pretty much expected to participate in decorating it. I do participate in this activity but I have to wonder if I'm being misleading by doing so.  I mean, I don't really consider the tree a "Christian" decoration - not like a nativity scene would be - but perhaps others do.

Many of my co-workers give each other Christmas cards.  I don't participate in this activity anymore but I used to.  I just would give out ones that say "Season's Greetings" or "Happy Holidays" so as to be all-inclusive. After I overheard one particular discussion between two co-workers about people not saying "Merry Christmas" and the alleged "War on Christmas" I don't bother to exchange cards with my co-workers.  It seems some of them only appreciate the "right kind" of card or greeting anyway.

See, it appears that my co-workers - Christians all of them with the exception of a couple Catholics* - presume that I'm a Christian.  I've never given them that impression on purpose. On the other hand, I don't loudly broadcast my non-belief.  If I were asked, I'd be honest but I'm just not quite sure what to do in the face of that sort of silent assumption.

I don't want to get into a religious discussion with them.  That I do know.  It isn't a conversation that belongs in the workplace in my opinion.  I do feel a bit like a fraud, though.  I've not found an easy solution to the problem. I suppose part of my the issue is that I don't feel that I'd be accepted as an atheist and I really don't want to become the token non-believer in the office. Maybe I'm just a wimp.

But, I guess as usual, I'll put up my nutcracker, snowflake and winter penguin decorations in my workstation, avoid discussions about church services and keep my head down until January. I really wish people would try harder not to make assumptions about other people, though.  Of course, that's like trying to change human nature so it isn't going to happen.

*are Catholics considered Christian?  I always thought so but some folks seem to think not.


image taken by the Hubble telescope courtesy of NASA

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