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
It was the huge Christmas wreath on the Range Rover's grill that made me hesitate. I was sitting in the parking lot behind a quaint New England downtown shopping center, my signal blinking as I waited for a Honda to leave. Then the Range Rover pulled up from the other direction. As the Honda backed out, the SUV, bearing Christmas on its front, roared into my spot. Slamming the door on her suburban tank, the driver lowered her sunglasses and shot me a Serial Mom stare that would deep-freeze Heatmiser.
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.