Author and blogger Amy Welborn wrote a column for the National Review Online titled "The Dark Side of Christmas" which points out that the story of Christmas is not all love, peace and good cheer, but rather is a story of a woman who was pregnant when she shouldn't have been, who gave birth in a smelly stable far from home who then had to flee for fear that her son would be killed by a jealous king.
Many of us are stressed this time of year trying to produce a "perfect" Christmas for our families. It is comforting to me to remember that the first Christmas was far from perfect--and yet it was perfect. Christmas at our house this year will have some dark clouds--and yet some light. My mom has been ill for some time and there is a good chance this will be her last Christmas with us--and yet it looks like she will be with us, something I wasn't so sure was going to happen at Thanksgiving. We will celebrate at my parents' house, the house we lived in for my teen years and the only house some of my siblings remember. That house had two feet of water in it during Katrina but thanks to my brother's hard work, is now inhabitable. My baby brother and sister-in-law are expecting a baby in the spring, and hoping to be back in their house (which got four feet of water during Katrina) by then. As one life ends, another begins. When it is all said and done, I don't think anyone is going to remember what goodies were or were not served, how beautifully the gifts were wrapped or even what toys the kids got. Hopefully we'll look back on this Christmas as a time of joy and family togetherness. Yes, when we dig deeper, we'll remember the sad parts too, but if the idyllic manger scenes teach us anything, its that we can make good memories out of just about anything.