Since we are doing open threads, I figure it is safe to come in with something personal. Those who know me, know that I am not a Christian of any of the varied flavors. That does not mean that I have any animus towards Christians, by any means. I am instead grateful. My personal lack of faith does in no way invalidate, or even impact the faith of others. It speaks more to my failings than to anything else.
I mentioned gratitude. It is well that I should. Look at the various systems of thought that people try to use to guide their lives. Islam, the very word means absolute submission. And the goal all their existence is to be a worthy slave of Allah. Buddhism and Hinduism are focused not on life, but on release from the cycle of birth and death. Taoism is tuned to arcane mysticism. And Confucianism is less a religion than a way to get a lot of people crowded together in a small space to live together without killing each other. All of the varied forms of coercive Collectivism; be they Marxist, Fascist, or modern Democrat are based on the subordination of the individual to the Collective, and a belief that a human being can be perfected by forced submission to the will of specially self-selected, yet still themselves imperfect humans.
The only widespread faith that gives the individual standing, even before G-d, is the Judeo-Christian ethos. From the Covenant with Abraham, to the death and Resurrection of Jesus, it is the standing and free will of the individual soul before even G-d himself that is the source in our culture of the belief in the worth of the individual over the that of the State, over the will of Tyrants. It is that belief that makes us free men and women.
So, on this eve of the celebration of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth; I pray that you let this humble soul, pagan according to your belief, offer thanks for the freedom that comes from your faith, and a wish that you and yours are gathered in joy, health, and safety this Christmas. And that through the trials to come and after, we will continue to be able to so gather.
LC Subotai Bahadur, Lord Pao An