Peter Brimelow has written a discussion of the War on Christmas for that is well worth reading.  In it, Peter puts me in the unusual role of optimist.  There are still many people in this country who want to suppress the public celebration of  Christmas, and the situation in the schools, where culture is formed and transmitted, remains terrible.  But it is true that I see more public manifestations of Christmas than I did in 2001, when I first wrote about the War on Christmas for Chronicles.

In this uncharacteristic role of optimist, I’d like to share a few positive items related to Christmas.  One is a blog whose author was persuaded to at least think about his position that there is no War on Christmas as a result of reading the speech on the subject that I had the good fortune of delivering at the Rockford Institute on December 6.  It is, of course, very gratifying to see someone thinking about a topic I care about as a result of something I wrote.  The second is this fun article about Russian exchange students in America enjoying the American Christmas, which Wayne Allensworth kindly brought to my attention.  The third is something that happened to me a few days ago.  Walking to lunch, I saw two mounted policemen whose horses were wearing Santa hats, an unexpected sight that was enough to make me smile.  Then, at lunch, I got another pleasant surprise, the opportunity to listen to Christmas music being sung by a very talented quartet in a small downtown arcade.  The quartet sang both secular Christmas music and Christmas carols, but the highlight was clearly Silent Night.  The quartet sang the first two verses in English, and then concluded by singing the first verse of Joseph Mohr’s great poem in the original German.  People stopped what they were doing and listened, and I even noticed one of the restaurateurs  in the arcade quietly singing along.  We all returned to work a little happier because of this unexpected encounter with beauty.

I wish all Chronicles readers a very Merry and Blessed Christmas.  And here, in a small effort to make your Christmas merry, is the great choir of St. Thomas in Leipzig singing Stille Nacht.