The old Christmas story

I always get depressed this time of year, and years of self-help efforts haven’t made much difference. My wife complains that she has to single-hand the season, with a Scrooge in the wings to boot.

Our girls have been hammering their weary parents for a manger scene, loving a good story as they do. So with a few quiet ‘humbugs,’ I bought one on sale at a local shop. I thought we might read the original story as we assembled the characters in the little stable, although scouring the house for a Bible proved fruitless.

Luckily, our neighbor provided one, so after the dinner dishes were cleared, we lit a candle, assigned the parts, and I poked around in the Bible. I found that the story had to be pieced together with the second chapters of Luke and Matthew, so I launched in: “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree…” By this point I was unable to read, overcome with some unexpected and paralyzing emotion.

Now I’m a blubberer: always have been and probably always will be. I find it inconvenient, vexing, even, to have to wait out the swings of emotion which with little reason sometimes grip me. But there’s one thing I’ve learned: the tears signal that the censorious part of me is being bypassed. Something deeper is going on in my system.

Well, with many a delay and handkerchief, the story unfolded. Figurines were fondled by little hands, but not broken. The crèche became complete and two happy girls went off to bed. And in the amazing quiet of post-bedtime, I am left reflecting: how profoundly ancient this story feels. Someone saw a light, an angel, a star. Something unexpected happened in a stable. Behold, a virgin shall conceive. All the symbols converge, repeat the same message: rebirth, renewal against all odds. Humankind, even back in the caves, perhaps, has somehow found the wisdom to tell this kind of story again and again in the dark of the year.

Jory Squibb

Camden

Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,

Christmas is almost here and I've been a very good girl this year. I hope you will visit my house on Christmas Eve. I promise to leave milk and cookies for you. Oh, and note for Rudolph.

Here is my Christmas Wish List:

1. An American Girl doll named Nanea

2. An American Girl doll that looks like me.

3. On named Kit Kittredge, who fits a bunk bed

Thank you for reading my letter.

Merry Christmas, Santa!

Love,

Nadia