That's what my Best Beloved told me years ago. He is right.
There are reasons I am no longer a believer in the faith in which I was raised, despite it being a faith of love. There are reasons this world doesn't do anything at all to restore that faith.
For every tale of a child born in Bethlehem, children born across the globe whose only fate is to die in war, in drought, in hunger, in bombing, of neglect.
For every elegiac greeting of peace and goodwill, toward humans to who the Creator grants favor, robustly evil messages of hate and fear, also in the name of that Creator.
For every candle, a wind to blow it out.
For every kindness, a cruelty.
For every hungry mouth fed, another hit hard and left bleeding.
For every lonely soul embraced, another one kicked into the street and left alone.
For every joy - in knowledge, in this glorious and miraculous world, in each other - a fear of those things and of that joy.
For everyone seeking light and the warmth of love, of salvation, someone else preaching darkness and the pain of hellfire.
And yet, I'm human, and humans rarely make a lot of sense.
We really don't. Our brains falter, our hearts stutter, our deeds gutter out.
And yet. And yet.
This is the darkest part of the year, and I choose to embrace light, and warmth, to reach out to my fellow humans and say that perhaps, just perhaps, there's hope, if we work at it hard.
If we daub the blood from the beaten mouth and feed it. If we find the newborns and keep them alive and love them. If we respond to hate with love (and oh, isn't that the hardest damned thing to do?)
So tonight, this unbeliever, this lapsed Baptist, chooses to believe in a story that's true, even if it never happened.
A very Happy Christmas to those of you who celebrate. A grace-filled Christmas to those of you who believe.
And to everyone else, Happy Light Against the Darkness. May we all be blessed in some fashion, and may we pass that blessing on.
(And for a few of you who like the little stories I told years ago, I posted them once more, here)