Christmas is a bizarre holiday - a sentimental overlay of sugary Victoriana glued onto a foundation of darker, more honest pagan traditions. My culture's expectations are at war with the yearnings of my heart. It's a difficult time of year.
And yet there's something incredibly beautiful about the image of two poor, first-time parents sheltering in a stable with a little baby, presiding over visiting shepherds, kings and an army of exuberant angels. It's wonderful that the Christmas manger contains dried grass and gold, the humblest stuff of earth and the highest gifts of heaven.
Christmas is the ultimate fairy tale, in which our heart's deepest wishes come true: a poor girl becomes the queen of heaven, a poor man's honest son becomes the Prince of Peace, a kingdom is delivered from evil tyrants, and wickedness is driven away as goodness triumphs and justice is restored. In the darkest nights of winters, Your hope shines in us.
Thank You, Jesus, for coming to us in our darkness, in our poverty, and in our ignorance.
Thank You for bringing light, and being light; for being willing to dwell among us and for being "God with us," wherever and whoever we are.