Few things are more tragic than taking Christmas in stride. Its spirit and magic, that alluring sense of supernatural goodness, are not just for children, but even for the grownups. Especially for the grownups. God forbid that we ever get used to Christmas.
There is something here so remarkable that pagan astrologers take to flight for the long, arduous journey westward. Something so good is in the offing that a wicked king commands the slaughter of innocents. Something so unusual that blue-collar workers, who thought they’d seen it all, are filled with great fear, then leave their flocks in haste to find this newborn — and then can’t keep quiet. “And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them” (Luke 2:18).