I like to think of myself as a spiritual person, especially at this time of year when conspicuous consumption is in the air and pandemonium rules the malls. Others suggest that I am just cheap. In any event, I side with those who think it’s time to take the $ out of Chri$tmas. But why stop there? Let’s go all the way and take the Christ out of Christmas. Does this make me a warrior in the “war on Christmas” that Bill O’Reilly sees all across America, that has led Glenn Beck’s Nativity Defense Force to counterattack against liberals, atheists and Satanists? No. I love the story of Christmas: a young girl, about 14, rides into Bethlehem on the longest night of the year, accompanied by her companion, a carpenter. They go to an inn but are told there is no room. What were they thinking – a destitute couple, dirty from the road, the girl nine months pregnant? Of course there was no room for them. There still isn’t. So they go to a stable where the girl gives birth to a child, who will later rebel against the narrowness of his tribe and the oppression of the state – which will join together to silence him. This story is not a weapon in the culture wars or any other war. It is no more about sectarian exclusion than it is about material gluttony. It is a universal story of courage and hope and inclusion, of birth and rebirth.