Something unusual happened this year in Atlanta - it snowed on Christmas Day. I didn't pay attention to how many inches we had, but it was enough for the kids to build snowmen. My nephews made a crude one wearing a black hat and a pair of red gloves, but a few doors from us a neighbor sculpted two solemn statues which reminded me of those of the ancient kings in the movie The Lord of the Rings.
The snowstorm completely deprived me of the lukewarm will to attend an evening church service held twenty miles away, so I stayed home in my cozy recliner watching an old movie, a hot cocoa glass on the small table nearby. Outside my window a mute and white spectacle was taking place under the feeble streetlights, all the more accentuating my own comfort, and my thoughts inevitably started wandering.
So I didn't go to church this Christmas at all, neither did I feel any qualm of any kind about it. It looked like the psychological divorce from my religious upbringing had finally been completed. While I was still clinging to a tenuous belief in God, I'd been feeling more and more estranged from institutions and their artificial trimmings. The large number of charlatans claiming to be God's servants whom I had met did not help either.
And so it looked like there were now just God and me and a quiet, deserted, purely white Christmas.