Incredible, amazing, even miraculous that the birth of a legal bastard of questioned fatherhood, born in an alley stable to a poor couple, the mother both reviled by community and rejected by her intended husband's family, two thousand years ago in a backwater village is the cause of a celebration of joy and hope that wraps the globe.
When gazing upon that tender infant's face, Christians for two millennium see he who links humans with the divine and the child who grows to be a rabbi who demonstrates sacrificial love. Unbelievable that such a story line is a trigger to such cultural outpouring.
Christmas, as we know it today, is a relatively new occurrence. But even in a cultural milieu of silver bells, Santa Claus coming to town, decking the halls, rockin' around a Christmas tree, family gatherings, feasts, parties, pageants, ballets, choirs, wrapping paper, and every thing else that has grown around the date, it centers back to that illegitimate baby boy born among live stock to a young girl.
Guess those astrologers from a line of scholar disciples of Zoroaster may have been onto something when they read the charts and traveled under night skies to visit the child and his bewildered parents. In a very real sense they were the guest at the first Christmas party.
For two thousand years critics and doubters and the intervening madness of wars, mass killings, disasters, disease, poverty, decadent commercialism and even hate have been unable to stop the party.
A curious birth, lower than the lowest level of civil society, in a smelly stable and it has come to this. Unbelievable isn't it?
See you down the trail.