Family Time at the Holidays: A Challenge for Theists and Atheists

The holiday season sometimes triggers tensions about religion, when family members who disagree about theology are thrown together in religiously-themed celebrations. For ideas about enjoying each other instead of arguing, see my entry of November 25, 2011, How Was Thanksgiving with Your Religious Relatives? Or Your Atheist Relatives? If you’d like suggestions about Christmas gatherings, see my December 16, 2011 post.

For a lighthearted yet thoughtful look at this topic, check out “The Christians and the Pagans,” a song about a modern family Christmas by Dar Williams. For the lyrics go to

There may be YouTube versions available as well. Here’s how the song ends:

So the Christians and the Pagans sat together at the table,
Finding faith and common ground the best that they were able,
Lighting trees in darkness, learning new ways from the old, and Making sense of history and drawing warmth out of the cold.

May your family gatherings be a time of love and laughter, regardless of how you answer the Great Big Questions.

Roger Christan Schriner

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