Prolific Father Greeley (Summer at the Lake, p. 401) takes a stab at It's a Wonderful Christmas and comes up . . . all charm and wit. Good Irish-Catholic Jack Flanigan, a third-year Russian major at Boston College, sees a beautiful, sad-eyed visiting student reading a Russian paper on a bench in Harvard Square and takes her out for tea and doughnuts. Her face spectacularly exotic, Odessa Tatiana Alexseevna Shyuskulya, an orphan, is in the States on a scholarship. Not long ago, her communist atheism was overwhelmed by God's grace descending upon her, making her a total believer . . . and far more comfortable with the idea of Her (God) being in every room and sitting at every table than good Irish-Catholic Jack can bear. When 21-year-old Odessa believes something, a force of nature fills her. So perhaps Jack has acted thoughtlessly in inviting her home for Christmas in Chicago with his good Irish family? Dad, a surgeon going off to Bosnia for Christmas, is a shanty Irish bigot. Brother Ed is a tall handsome jerk who fancies himself a University of Chicago intellectual. Sister Stephanie, a boring, spoiled-lazy, very beautiful flake, has an idiot husband, Joe, with a Harvard degree, who's a substitute teacher with longings to act and write, while teenage sister Brigid smokes pot and thinks she understands everything while understanding hardly half. Meantime, the main mode of conversation for Jack's lawyer mother, even during family brawls, is the cross-exam. This already hangs like a full Christmas bag, and Greeley distributes his dialogue masterfully. Though Odessa's innocence proves unbeatable, tension fades as the only question left becomes: Will Greeley find some conflict to resolve?