Monday, December 24, 2018

A Christmas Story

Since Christmas is a time for telling ourselves stories….

The Christmas story is one we have to make way for against all odds.

The odds are that the rich will turn the poor away at their doors.

That there will never be room in the inn for the wayfaring strangers, the unknown wife heavy with child, the unknown, silent, uncouth husband. People from a strange land, possibly bringing disease.

Darker than we are. And poor.

The odds are that the only room the wayfaring strangers will ever find is in a stable, where the dark wife of unknown background gives birth to her child.

The odds are that this child will be, like the vast majority of us, insignificant.

The odds are that this story will never have meaning to anyone, never even receive a hearing by anyone.

No meaning for the rich feasting with merriment in their well-lit halls behind closed doors.

Nor for the divines surrounded by their gilded holy pictures and scriptures full of words kept under lock and key, to be doled out to little ones by these high and mighty men when and as they choose.

This is a story that means something to all of us who know what it is to experience loss.

To search for a place and have the door slammed in our faces.

To be given a stable for the cold night instead.

To be told that we do not count, not when the real, meaningful counting is done.

To be told that the very fact that we have been trampled on means more trampling is in order — since we wouldn't have been knocked about in the first place if we hadn't deserved it, would we?

What to do with a story like this?

Many of us choose, at least for one day, to give it some room in our heads.

To believe it. 

To hope it's real.

And then the manger is packed away for the next year, the kneeling mother, the doting father, the strangers of darker complexion and travel-soiled clothes.

Along with the baby it held on Christmas day.

And then back to the business that life is all about, after all.

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