As Jessica Stockton reminds me every year:
"Why is it that the worse the Christmas service, the closer we get to the idea of Christmas?
Children's services, with children running aimlessly in the aisles in lamb costumes or dressed as wise men, neglecting or refusing to say their lines, why so much closer to the idea of Christmas?
What is this thing about Christmas, the paradoxical tendency of Christmas, that the more heartbreaking it is the closer it seems to get to the point? Why is failure and awkwardness so human and so natural at Christmas?... Why is it that desperation is closer to God?...
At the same time, what about the Mean Estate stuff, what about Mary lying in bad circumstances? Why is it that the no-room-at-the-inn part is inevitably moving, even when you are skeptical about the whole thing?... And why an ideology of the neglected and left out and miserable and disinherited and lonely and poor and ill and exiled, anyway?...
And why is it, meanwhile, that singing is the thing that enables me to understand this, why is it that singing makes the Christmas holiday what it is, what it can be, what it ought to be?"
- Rick Moody, Christmas 2006