The start of Christmas in our household is marked less by a predetermined day than by a specific location. The attic. Any event that starts in a cold cramped place devoid of light can't be all that good, right?
...one look at the nativity scene and I was in a foul mood. I forgot how, year after year, decade after decade, generation after generation, we perpetuate this idyllic manger tableau that is nothing short of a drastic misrepresentation. I witnessed my wife giving birth. Trust me; there's nothing idyllic about it.
Like the stable with a manger of soft straw, there will always be a safe haven at our time of greatest need. It goes by many names, but most call it Grace. It's not the random favor of a distant God, but the assured outcome that comes through living our divine nature.