It’s easy to feel smugly indignant at the commercialisation of Christmas and attempts to create an official Winter Holiday instead. I wonder whether that is a greater threat to the truth of Christmas than sentimental carols, sung unheedingly? Christmas is, as Mary herself said when she met Elizabeth before their sons were born:
He casts the mighty from their thrones and raises the lowly;
He fills the starving with good things, sends the rich away empty.
Luke 1: 52-53.
Here is one mighty one, years later, most uneasy on his throne, cast down even:
… this birth
Was hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people, clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.
T.S. Eliot, Journey of the Magi.
Clutching their gods? We are tattooed on God’s hand (Isaiah 49:15); he hold us, gently. May we know his presence every day, seeing him in the eyes of every person we meet.