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Jewish World Review Dec. 12, 2005 / 11 Kislev 5766

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Twas the Night Before Solstice | Way back in 1822, Clement Clarke Moore wrote the poem that is now known as "Twas the Night Before Christmas," and it was first published in the Troy Sentinel. Moore, the son of the New York bishop who had presided at George Washington's inauguration, had no idea his verse would become world-famous, beloved by people everywhere.

But because there is mention of a certain "Saint Nicholas" in the poem, it may, alas, have to be revised in order not to offend Americans who don't believe in saints, or even Christmas, for that matter. We cannot be having any exclusionary poems now, can we?

So with apologies to Clement Moore and everybody else, I humbly submit this updated poem for your consideration:

"Twas the night before Solstice, and all through the land,

the ACLU was watching to keep things in hand.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

while forces kept Christmas out of their heads.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from my bed and heard desperate chatter.

Someone had seen my manger display,

And wailed very loudly, "Go away, go away."

How could I be so crass, so utterly wrong,
So show the infant Jesus and sing him a song?
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
An ACLU lawyer, looking stern and aloof.

"No manger! No caroling!" he said with a snort.
"And if you don't comply immediately, I'll take you to court!"
He was chubby and plumb, a right surly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself.

He dallied no more, but went straight to his phone,
Lamenting the manger, in a most pitiful moan.
But I, in the spirit, said nothing unkind,
Christmas is forgiveness, whatever you find.

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
Christmas will survive, the folks will demand it,
Even if secular lawyers will not understand it.

Then I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight, Happy Solstice to all, and to all a good night!"

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JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author of, most recently, "Who's Looking Out for You?" Comments by clicking here.

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