Merry Christmas From Heaven

Dad died in April, 2001.  That year at Christmas?  Mom felt compelled to give us each a special gift…  to help us cope with the loss over the holidays.  i find it every year as i drag out the decorations.  Thought i’d share it…

Hangin' with Jeebus...

Hangin' with Jeebus...

The ornament says “Merry Christmas from Heaven” around the periphery, with a nicely rhymed poem in the center:

I love you all dearly
Now don’t shed a tear,
I’m spending my Christmas
With Jesus this year.

Accompanying the ornament?  A longer poem, which also rhymes smartly*.

I still hear the  music
I still see the lights
I still feel your love
on cold wintery nights

I still share your hopes
and all of your cares
I’ll even remind you
to please say your prayers

I just want to tell you
you still make me proud
You stand head and shoulders
above all the crowd

Keep trying each moment
to stay in His grace
I came here before you
to help set your place

You don’t have to be
perfect all the time
He forgives you the slip
If you continue the climb

To my family and friends
please be thankful today
I’m still close beside you
In a new special way.

I love you all dearly
now don’t shed a tear
Cause I’m spending my
Christmas with Jesus this year.

She meant well.  i know she did.  But if my daughter were an atheist, i’d like to think i’d know it.  And i sure as hell wouldn’t be dropping this kinda shit on her for Christmas…  How did my family respond?  My next oldest sister, T?  Probably lost it in an airport trashcan before she hopped a plane for home.  Brother?  i bet he has it around the house… somewhere…  Oldest sister, S?  She was delighted with it – perhaps shed a tear.  Certain to be prominently displayed on her tree.  i’m glad it gave her some comfort.  i just wish it were that easy for me…

Reminds me of a favorite Kurt Vonnegut story.  Mr. Vonnegut, a well known humanist**, was asked to eulogize his friend Isaac Asimov, also a well known humanist.  He opened the eulogy with “Isaac’s in heaven now” and was delighted to be hit with a blast of thunderous laughter.  As he later recounted “It was quite awhile before order could be restored. Humanists were rolling in the aisles”.

So i guess Dad’s in heaven now.  Hangin’ with Jeebus…. not to mention Kurt and Isaac….



* The rhyming of “cares” and “prayers”, as well as “proud” and “crowd”?  Literary genius!  i mean, they aren’t even spelled the same way!

** Humanists reject superstition, and the supernatural and do not believe in (nor waste time thinking about, or praying to) a supreme being.  Humans can fix their own problems, and there is no heaven – dead is dead.  We just need to look out for each other while we’re here… be kind and all that…. Kurt Vonnegut and Isaac Asimov were both honorary presidents of the American Humanist Association at different times… Those are the wonderful folks who are bringing the international ad campaign – “Why believe in god?  Be good for goodness sakes!” –  to the US…

21 thoughts on “Merry Christmas From Heaven

  1. I hate crap like that. Which is why my oldest uncle doesn’t have my new email address. Well, that and all the right-wing crap he used to send me.

    On another note, I’ve threatened to come back and haunt my family if they give me a Christian funeral.

  2. I don’t expect anything like that although Mom did send me a copy of Dad’s eulogy and made sure we all got laminated copies of his obit (since I wrote it do you think I can use it as a writer’s clip).

    The family back home are shoving Christmas down Mom’s throat with a good does of guilt. She is putting up with it but she has a temper and I personally, am glad I am not there because when she reaches her limit – boom.

    I try to remember that most people are pretty simple minded about the big complicated questions of life – like death.

  3. I thought Hay-soos was that illegal dude workin’ down at the car wash?

    Seriously, though, it was probably well-intentioned. My dealings with the adherents to religious dogma have led me to believe that they really don’t have a clue. And they really don’t understand why everyone doesn’t believe what they believe.

    Loved the story about the intro line from Vonnegut’s tribute to Asimov.

  4. unbearable banishment – “takes me back”? never left. unfortunately…

    silverstar – like the idea of threatening a haunting, but that doesn’t track with my humanist leanings either… but then again, they’d never bother to take the time to find out what a humanist is, if i ever bothered to tell them…

    imeantno – i’m surprised by that too… chapters of the KKK? wouldn’t surprise me… militia? nope. got lots of those too…

    annie – i try to be patient. i thanked her for it. made some comments about “wow… who’d have thought they make something like that for these situations?” and those sorts of things… fingers crossed for your mom, and the family, that the “boom” doesn’t do permanent damage!

    rob – i know it was well intentioned. it’s just frustrating when it’s always about “buying something to make it all better”. as though there are magic charms that soothe the soul, available for purchase from the Danbury Mint…

    manuel – wait. i thought you were in belfast, not australia….

  5. I think my grandma thinks were religious, once we got bibles for christmas… I seem to remember getting caught keeping some pornographic images in it… It seems to be a little silly to me, be good or you’ll be punished, wouldn’t it be better to be good because its nice to be.

  6. Hi Laura,I pray for you O Atheist friend of mine that someday you will see the light.The more i know and learn about you the more you remind me of my sister who is in a bit of a jam of her own doing.I wonder what event in your life sent you down this path or how you came to your belief.Still you were given free will to accept or deny God and that is your choice to make.I feel sorrow that you have taken this road though I respect your wishes.Your friend AJ.

  7. gnu kid – hallmark doesn’t make a whole lot of money off me. i don’t buy “greeting cards for dogs”, or that sort of thing…

    alex – agree that threatening people to behave may not be as healthy as growing them to behave because it’s the right thing to do. although i was all about threatening my children in the grocery store…

    AJ – no particular event. just an inability to “jump the chasm” of faith and believe in what amounts to supernatural things… “I respect your wishes” – that’s all i can ask! And i try to do the same…

    nursemyra – Yes, Ma’am! he’s a local musician/songwriter i met at a local open stage… those last words (“I respect your wishes”) are all i need in such circumstances. It’s the folks who spend time trying to save me that don’t get much traction…

  8. I so empathize with you. I am the family pagan, and I am quite comfortable with that. I want everybody to allow me to believe what I believe, so I try to show everybody else the same, but it frequently doesn’t work out the way I think it should. They inevitably decide to “pity” me for what will surely be my final destination, down in flames.


  9. uncle keith – but what if i need baptizing more often? can nursemyra and i be baptized at the same time?

    KJ – they’ve never asked, and i’ve not offered my beliefs. Dad and i had discussed it at length, however… he wasn’t even remotely religious (although he was raised roman catholic, and was a member of the methodist church). He was, however, spiritual – and was a man of deep faith… The rest of the family? It would just upset them to think about it… a Humanist Sister?

    nm – Water Sports! Yay!

    kyknoord – i dunno… does the Flying Spaghetti Monster have Christmas ornaments? (better question: should we fabricate and market some?)

  10. I’m in no way religious (and would have been appalled if my mum had come up with that sort of tripe!) but I actually really like the idea of my dad being in heaven, or at least a “better place”.

    I like the idea of his personal heaven (mostly my idea of hell) where he could play golf, listen to cricket on the radio, go hillwalking and share a pork pie with the dog at the top, with the sun shining all the time, so he could forget about wearing socks, never get a miserable cold and sit reading the paper in the warmth. I’m not sure he’d be happy with Jesus being there though, and would prefer someone a little more sporty to chat to over the odd pint.

    (As you may have guessed, my dad was not the most dynamic of men, most of the time. But I still miss him!)

  11. uncle keith – can your holy water sprinkler handle it? should the local fire department be alerted?

    dolce – has to be hormones, or maybe just the horrific poetry…

    cat – i agree that it’s pleasant to think of it that way… meeting up with old friends. kinda like a giant facebook in the sky, with sports, tv and (in my case) unlimited access to alcohol and dance floors! your dad sounds wonderful…

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