In a favorite Christmas carol, we sing about the sweet little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay. The song mentions the lowing of the cattle that wakes the baby, but “the little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.” I’ve wondered about that, as has every mother who sings that song. A human baby that doesn’t cry?

The incarnation was Jesus’ humble willingness to bear our sorrows. We rightly contemplate his years of selfless ministry, and his passion and death, but we may forget that his thirty years before those gospel events were fully human years too, likely years full of loss, sorrow, Roman oppression, poverty, wearying labor, and personal stories of trauma such as we all face.

What is Christmas to those who can’t feel jolly?