And when I come inside, I set up the nativity scene on the mantle, and smile as I settle the little pewter baby Jesus in his mother's arms.
Did I mention I'm an atheist?
It's true that I was raised Lutheran, but my love for Christmas isn't backsliding. And I'm not celebrating Solstice or Winter-Een-Mas or Festivus or anything else. I am celebrating Christmas. No, I don't go to church, but I do recognize that I am part of a non-religious minority living in a majority Christian country, and I'm okay with it. I am no more harmed by their faith than they are by my lack of faith. And then, of course, there is my family, which is more devout than not. And because I love and respect them, I love and respect their faith. I just don't happen to share it.
And besides, how cool is the Christmas story? No, I don't buy it all as fact. But the story of Jesus being born in a barn is so different from the origin myths of most religious leaders that I do wonder if there might be some truth to it. Regardless of its truth value, though, as a father, I love the idea of a foundational myth that says that every child, regardless of circumstances, has the potential to save the world.