Billions of people believe this story, which is only the prologue to a longer narrative. They suffer for this story. They survive for it. Sometimes they die for it. For believers, this story brings tidings of comfort and joy.
But in these difficult days, perhaps even non-believers can take some comfort in the story of Christmas. Certainly they can find inclusion in a narrative that showcases the speech-impaired, the doubting, the empowered women both young and old, the he-man protector-types, the showfolk (two songs!), the policy wonks, the farmers, the friends of animals, the professors, the privileged, and even the service industries.
With only a little effort, one can find even more: wonder at a mythology that departs from any other mythology to introduce not a god, but God-made-man; esteem in the notion that humanity is so valued and beloved of its Creator that he would want to set his tent among theirs; joy in a story of stars and angelsong and new life, and most of all — hope: that what has gone wrong may be made right; that frightening realities can be borne and incalculable debts paid down, that darkness may be pierced and shelter may be found.