We are told Christmas has been around for quite a while. In the Christian world, Christmas is the birth of Jesus, approximately 2000 years ago. It is said that the date is artificial, chosen to combine with the pagan festival of Saturnalia (Thank you, Sheldon, who makes this claim on THE BIG BANG THEORY) . . . and Saturnalia itself is connected with the Druids about 1000 years ago.

So we have Christmas. It comes at us full on, bringing with it an entire body of legends and words and beliefs. It surrounds us for a good month of more as we decorate our homes and our stores – as we program certain shows on the TV and on radio – concerts arise in our schools and churches and other institutions. Charities kick into high gear with their drives for toys and jackets, bringing out their red buckets or their brass bands, or ring their bells from high and low, indoors and out.

There’s Rudolph and Frosty and all those sugarplum fairies. Charlie Brown and the Grinch (both the animated version and the Jim Carrey version) vie for top ratings . . . and Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus . . . which brings up Saint Nicholas and Father Christmas and leaving stockings by the fireplace – or wooden shoes. Presents for everyone, please.

Christmas cards, garlands hanging from the city lights, homes lit up – some with a mere strand of white lights, some with blinding displays of the cheer of the season. Turkey raffles, caroling, Micheal Buble specials . . . and anyone who has Christmas music recordings brings it out and fires it up on the CD player, on the MP3, in the car, at the municipal skating rink, in the elevators.

So it is fair to say that Christmas has a global presence? Can every nation say they’ve heard of it? I think so, regardless of their own culture.

There’s the general theme of the whole thing: PEACE ON EARTH, GOOD WILL TOWARDS ALL. I don’t know too many who would argue that such a thought is a trifle, a waste of time.

Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer rode up to us on Gene Autry’s voice. Santa and the Druids came out of nothing at all to be part of the Christmas season. Michael Buble has no corner on the origin of Christmas, and all those recordings of Christmas music are at best maybe a century old.

Yup, that whole PEACE ON EARTH, GOOD WILL TOWARDS ALL is what those angels sang those many years ago, and all over some baby to some nondescript folks. The foretelling of the little guy had enough weight to bring visitors from a long way away (those dudes from the east – learned men, ‘wise’ men) just to see if the whole thing could possibly have any ring of truth in it. That’s the Bible story that has been told for two millennia now. Take away that story, and we’d be calling this time of year FESTIVUS or something else.

Legend? True story? Or somewhere in between? From the most ardent believer to the most fervent atheist, the story is there for consideration by all.

And you know what? The seed has been planted that PEACE ON EARTH, GOOD WILL TOWARDS ALL can work quite a long time ago. Make of it what you will – it is a personal thing.

My personal choice? I believe.