This is an archive edition of AHN that first appeared in 2010. Best wishes to all for a happily restful holiday week.
Jim is observing Christmas. Not "the holidays," not "the season," but Christmas. On balance, the United States is probably still statistically a Christian nation, but its elite is largely secular, and that which isn't is religiously diverse.
Insofar as Christmas really is a minority observance among the people whose eyes may cross this blog, I don't regard that as a problem. Notwithstanding complaints on the part of some, there is no "war" on Christmas. There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical, if not hostile, to Christianity in general and Roman Catholicism (which I practice) in particular. But I don't think you have to be religious or Christian to find hope and cheer in a scenario of a poor child in a remote place coming into the world and transforming it by the power of word and example. And that a few wise men would sense something afoot and seek out the child (as well as a powerful satrap who would be thwarted in the attempt to find and kill a future rival). As would become clear over time, that child was never meant to be a secular king. His work, and his legacy, would prove more durable.
Merry Christmas to all. -- J.C.