I look at a nativity scene, and I think:
“It’s a modern patchwork family! The baby out of wedlock, the new guy who sticks around because he loves the woman (Joseph), your weird uncle (ox), all your crazy neighbors (shepherds and sheep) whose noise levels you generally can’t stand, and the know-it-alls (wise men) who always tell you how to do things the better – and right – way.”

Today, I looked again, and I thought:
“I am the child. I, too, have been through cold and lonely desert nights, feeling rejected, doubtful, and small. In those times, I, too, have had family – blood and world – gather around to comfort me. I, too, have had random strangers make my day. I, too, have had people selflessly share not only wisdom with me, but pieces of themselves. I, too, have been believed in.”
And so I’m realizing, this festivity is about not being afraid, because I’m never alone. It’s gonna get dark, and it’s gonna get tough, for sure, but I have the best damn family anyone could ever wish for.
Merry Christmas, family.