And then there's Christmas, and the steady stream of stories from both sides of the divide about secularising a Christian season. 'Festive Felicitations' or some other such politically correct and lyrically vapid proclamation will be witnessed on the corporate Christmas card of an obscure town council, and Christian/non-Christian commentators will aver that such an act of secularism could in fact sink 2000 years worth of Christian theology and practice forever.
And so we roll into December again - Classic FM has got bells on, shopping centres have become a mustering point for the distracted and distressed, huge tins of Quality Street are widely retailing at less than £5, incomprehensible adverts for perfume are everywhere - and thus the time will surely soon be here when the secular/sacred debate can emerge from the attic for another year of lustreless display.
But let me lay one old chestnut to rest for good - that of Happy Xmas.
As a child the employment of 'Xmas' on a card, in a shop catalogue, or on the windows of a family home was an act of cultural and spiritual vandalism - taking, as it did, 'Christ out of Christmas'. Such strong reactions continue to this day, with many fellow evangelicals taking serious issue with the Xmas rendering - as recently as 2005 Franklin Graham described the use of Xmas as a 'war against the name of Jesus Christ'.
But history appears to suggest an entirely different background to the use of this particular term. Xmas dates as far back as the early Medieval period, where the Greek letter chi (which strongly resembles our letter 'x' when not transliterated),the first letter of Christ's name Χριστός, was used as a short hand for Christ. So, from the perspective of history, the X was used to refer to Jesus in the midst of festivities, rather than to remove him from it.
Amazing what a little bit of history can tell you, isn't it?
It turns out that it was the Greek, and not the Grinch, who stole Christmas.
I'm still not any kind of fan of 'Xmas' as a term, but if any of my atheistically minded friends do wish to send me a card with this wording (perhaps as a misguided attempt at subverting the season) then I would welcome your correspondence most warmly. It would bless me to see you engage with New Testament languages (albeit at an elementary level), and to see you willingly put the cross back into Christmas.
For the rest of us, it might be a case of simply keeping calm and getting on with celebrating this particular (ahem) mass together.