And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
On Tuesday it was still so warm that I walked around in the yard in a sweatshirt and tennis shoes as I filled bird feeders. By Wednesday, we had a powdered sugar dusting of snow again. More is forecast for tonight, which is fine now that my own two birds are back home to roost for Christmas. Even a confirmed winter hater like me has to admit that the snow is pretty and kind of even necessary around here in December. We are Minnesotans, after all. We don’t really know what to do with ourselves if we can’t complain about the weather.
It didn’t take long for the birds to realize that the feeders were full. The thuggish gray squirrels managed to dump the feeder in the backyard the same day, which seems rude considering that they can pick up what the birds don’t eat without destroying public property but I guess that’s just my opinion. We have one rather portly, mean blue jay who spends his days at the feeder in the front yard strutting around and acting important. He appears to have claimed the feeder as his own little hermit kingdom. His poorly fitting blue suit coat doesn’t close in the front and his white belly is bulbous and full. When the scores of black-capped chickadees in the yard try to take their fair share, he pecks at their tail feathers and squawks, sending them to the ground below the feeder where they huddle in pairs or groups, murmuring and waiting for whatever leavings the fat bully up above kicks down to them.
Despite the drama taking place in my yard, it is Christmas time once more. The holiday will be a welcome respite from the bleak news stories that have pummeled us all for the past month. Stories of intolerance and suffering that make me wonder who is actually in charge in the universe because there are months, like this one, when the world seems just too nuts to even comprehend. News stories of over a hundred school children killed in Pakistan and police officers assassinated in New York, not to mention the hit put out on this little concept we like to call freedom of speech simply because a different fat blue jay on the other side of the globe doesn’t get the concept of satire. Not enough eggnog on the planet to fix that one, folks.
And so, in months like this, we need the good news of angels and shepherds and wise men, especially. We need news of a star and a manger and a small boy born to bring light to this often dark world we inhabit. News of peace and good will.
Peace on earth. This earth. This one. Right here.
Now, that’s a headline I can wrap my heart around.