THE Presbyterian Moderator almost sounded annoyed that “logically inconsistent” atheists (?) can enjoy Christmas while rejecting the Christian message. Its liking the packaging of the present without the present or liking the shell without the substance it doesnt add up to much… If you take the heart out of Christmas you havent got much left that makes sense. I’m not sure that logic or trying to rationalise something as abstract as belief in the Christmas story (itself inconsistent in different Gospels) has much to do with Christianity. It’s easy to be cynical about the fake sentimentality, nostalgia wallowing and hypocrisy of the once-a-year churchgoer, but there are cultural and social aspects of Christmas that are common to and enjoyed by virtually all of us – the exchange of gifts, meeting up with family members after periods apart, going out with friends. Atheists might not end up at a church tomorrow, but they don’t need three wise men to tell them that taking Christ out of Christmas doesn’t make for a hollow experience.