Christmas night. Finally all is calm, and the moon is winter bright. The wild halflings have settled down. Our family has again done as our family has always done since we were the children, returning to our parents' tiny home to celebrate this sacred and special holiday. I am keenly aware how fortunate my sister and I are to be able to do this with our families at these stages of our lives. The women are enjoying wine and conversation over chocolate fondue with strawberries. Always something new, and always we cling tightly to cherished family traditions.
I've not had time to do much more than quickly graze on the postings of friends and family today. A few moments here and there show that many are gathered and celebrating much as we are. Many more are doing so while adjusting to the first Christmas without a cherished loved one. Others are doing so while facing medical and emotional crises, including in my own extended family. Some spent part of the holiday working, so that others might have the holiday with their families. And those in uniform stood guard at home and abroad to protect us enjoying the holiday.
Just like the world that greeted the baby whose birth this day celebrates, our world is troubled by darknesses prolific and virulent. The Herods of the world seem to gain strength and support harnessing the forces of fear and tribalism. That baby that came into that world was weak and vulnerable, and soon became a refugee himself. The story that we so preciously guard and hand down is a reminder that there are many stories outside of our own comforts and traditions, many blessings and many dangers.
So as I wish each of you a Merry Christmas, or a good and warm and safe night, or whatever combination of the peace, hope, joy and love of the season you most desire and need, I do so thinking of those in danger this night too. The refugees, the unwanted, the at-risk, the sick and the frail, the mourning and the mourned. May the peace and hope of this Christmas find its way into every dark corner of this hurting world. Burn bright, love fiercely, and Merry Christmas.