The Two Christmas Stories

How joy and sorrow mingle at the manger
The Two Christmas Stories

Christmas season is a special time of year for me. I love the Christmas lights and the smell of a real Christmas tree. I enjoy hanging ornaments, especially the little orbs containing the ghosts of Christmas past—those finger-painted, macaroni-covered, ugly little gems from childhood. I play Christmas music in my house starting on Thanksgiving, and the Kirk Franklin and the Family Christmas album is a must—and nothing feels warmer than sipping hot chocolate with my family, curled up under shared blankets, reliving memories and dreaming about the future.

I love everything about Christmas, even gift-giving. I take great delight in supporting my family’s dreams, hobbies, and skills through giving gifts that show how well I know them. I enjoy wrapping each one, anticipating the joy each will bring to its recipient.

But even for this girl who loves the Christmas season, there is a certain weightiness that comes this time of year. This year in particular has been filled with many heartbreaking moments. My heart is still heavy from the Charleston massacre; the refugee crisis; the earthquakes in Nepal; and the terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut, and Mali. Our Facebook feeds reflected the potential for violence in our own communities, with far too regular posts seeking prayers for children while schools are on lockdown.

And those are just a fraction of the stories that have affected us. This year has brought with it a heaviness that is not easily dismissed by Christmas carols and candy canes. This year I have no use for a gold-plated Christmas.

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Austin Channing Brown

Austin Channing Brown is a TCW regular contributor and columnist. A resident director and multicultural liaison at Calvin College, Austin is passionate about racial reconciliation—and has a slight obsession with books. When she's not reading, you'll find Austin watching HGTV or updating her blog

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Christmas; Jesus Christ; Joy; Sadness
Today's Christian Woman, December 23, 2015
Posted December 23, 2015

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