In defending Christmas I have nothing to say about Jesus Christ, a terrifying and influential historical figure who, I confess, has had little impact on my life. My Christmas, the Christmas I have known, revolves centrally around objects—most crucially around presents and then secondarily around things like Christmas trees, ornaments, decorations, advent calendars, etc., and people—the people I’ve known, the family members whose faces come most quickly to mind when I smell pine needles, as if their faces are the secret look of pine needles and the two are united forever in a correspondence that is prior to history, understanding, or even my own awareness.
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