Merry Christmas

Christmas is a good holiday. For the religious there is the renewed hope of redemption. For the others, the streets are lit up; children look forward to Santa Claus; the Salvation Army collects enough to fill soup bowls for another year; cynics have a special occasion on which they can be doubly cynical.

The American holiday offers the happy option of putting Christ into Christmas or taking him out. What makes it this way is that Christmas is an established religious holiday in a country without an established religion, which seems a pretty good compromise between the forces of light and the forces of darkness.

In addition Americans have a chance to love a happy old man without looking toward 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Santa Claus does not worry about big spending and never has diplomatic problems. Besides all this, it's good to drink egg nog instead of gin punch, and very few people complain about your singing if you join in on carols.

Peace on earth and good will towards men is worth working for, and even the most hard boiled probably give it a thought or two over the holidays. That the Christmas spirit is so ephemeral should be no indictment against Christmas, but merely against the rest of the year.

Yes, Virginia, Christmas is a good holiday.