May Christmas transform our hearts and our society

James R. Neal

The Christmas season is upon us — in the traditional Church calendar, Christmas began on Dec. 25 and ends at Epiphany on Jan. 6 (followed by the beginning of the Orthodox Christmas season Jan. 7).

Regardless of when you believe Christmas begins and ends, the season is, at its best, a time of family, of giving, tradition, faith, love and beauty. Christmas is all these things. But, in its original telling, and for far too many in our society today, there is another side to Christmas.

The Gospel Nativity recounts a teen mother, forced by a tyrannical power, to undertake an arduous trek in the last days of her pregnancy, all to collect taxes for empire. She gave birth among beasts. Perhaps 1-2 years later, she became a refugee, fleeing for the sake of her child’s life to a foreign land.

The worst parts of Mary’s story are relived today…

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