As a Fire Chaplain maybe I see more of this than I should, but this is not a great season for a lot of people. Anxieties about preparing in just the right way so no one is disappointed, family discord that has never been resolved touch very raw nerves, mental illnesses flare up under the pressure of Christmas expectations, loneliness, despair that can be suicidal, unexpected deaths brought on by too much food or booze or both, and the whole gamut of ordinary sickness seem to be more evident during these weeks. In this season, when the abounding and steadfast love of God is so vividly manifested in the nativity of our Lord, how can we be alert and responsive to these issues in the right way? There is probably a good psychological answer to that, but I think the right answer is in the gospel narrative itself. The rejoicing we offer is a rejoicing that has no requirement but to receive the gift of God incarnate who came precisely for those who find this such a difficult time of year. I think that’s the right answer, it’s just that we are not very good at doing it.