I'm Dreaming of a Blue Christmas
Christmas is insufferable because we expect too much. A few depressing tales would provide some balance.
BY: John D. Spalding
Happy Holidays! In this wondrous and magical season, common courtesy is dropped and ruthlessness is tolerated as part of the price we pay to celebrate the birth of Christ.
In response, many of us turn to inspirational tales of redemption and altruism to buck up our Christmas spirit. Alice Gray's "Christmas Stories for the Heart" is the kind of thing we read to make us think Christmas is worth the fuss because, beneath all the chaos and excess, it's fundamentally about warmth and kindness.
"The Legend of the Robin," tells how Mary, on Christmas Eve, coaxes the stable animals into stoking the fire for her. The horse, ox, and donkey are no help. Then a little brown bird swoops down and fans the smoldering coals till the bird's chest glowed and a flame ignited-in the coals, that is. "'Dear bird,' Mary said, 'thank you so much for your thoughtfulness. From now on, you will always wear a breast of red as a sign of the kindness in your heart.'"
As touching as that story may be, notice that it's not about the kindness of people at Christmas but about the kindness of animals. Don't forget: The reason Mary and Joseph had to shack up with the animals in the first place was that no human would grant them shelter.