The news stories continue to trot out about individual atheists and other anti-Christians bringing lawsuits against any public symbol of the faith. “They keep chipping away, one manger scene or cross at a time, but can you imagine them shutting this down in the next decade or two?” worried my husband, as we enjoyed the magnificent Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert. “No worries,” I said. “It has endured over 2000 years. It’s not going away.”

I kind of surprised myself with this casual assurance, given the threat to religious liberties across the world and all.

This week has been filled with beautiful moments that nothing else accounts for other than grace. When you are open to seeing beyond the passing exchanges of the day, those flashes of the richly spiritual behind the mundane temporal (hey, I’m used to looking for ‘the story behing the story’ in the news all the time)…you can catch glimpses of little miracles. Or at least elevated humanity.

Thanks to satellite radio set on splendid Christmas classics, and the past two days of public television broadcating glorious concerts that make your heart soar, coupled with intentional quiet time to hear and contemplate beauty….I have more peace than the usual work world allows, especially in the news media. Way more.

This Christmas, those who have lost a loved one and those who are far from family are on my heart in a special way. Of course, you don’t have to be a Christian to feel this deep compassion and goodwill toward those who suffer at this time of year. It seems heavier this year….

But if you are a Christian, take heart in the global celebration of this most holy occasion. It’s still going, all out.

At Vatican City on Friday night, Catholic worshippers packed pews inside St. Peter’s Basilica to hear Pope Benedict XVI deliver Midnight Mass. He prayed to God for peace.

“Grant us the grace of true brotherhood. Help us to become like you. Help us to recognize your face in others who need our assistance,” he said. “And help us to live together with you as brothers and sisters so as to become one family — your family.”

Amen to that. Merry Christmas, happy holidays, peace and goodwill. To each and to all.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....