What would happen if someone changed the lyrics in my favorite Christmas carol to:
Silent night, holy night
Son of God, taking flight
Soldiers grab kids by the feet
Blood runs red in the street
Children die tonight
Chil-il-dren die tonight.
I remember my cousin Melanie singing this hymn (the real version) angelically when we were children. The Christmas Story is beautiful. The Christmas Story is hope-giving. The Christmas Story is peaceful. On that night, back in that stable, the world was all right. And on the nights that echo it, those silent nights, all was right in my world.
But the story is so much more complicated. So much more disturbing. Children died. Maybe not on that silent night, but on a night soon after. I don't want that to be part of my Christmas story. But it's there. Buried, disturbingly, in Matthew 2.
What do we do with the bits of the story that doesn't fit into carols? What do we do with the parts of the story that doesn't fit into hymns? Laugh and cry? Dodge and ignore? Wrestle?