If you listen to some of the idle pre-holiday chatter, this winter as in any of the previous few, you will hear quite a bit of grousing about our folkloric images. Jesus, as most of us know by now, was born in neither a cave nor an outdoor stable. He was almost certainly born in the main room of a private home, because the bedroom -- reserved for guests -- was already taken. Needless to say, it was not winter, at least so far as we have any reason to believe. The Magi were not kings, nor necessarily three in number, nor even necessarily men. Saint Nicholas was Turkish, not elfin. Neither Black Peter nor Krampus has anything much to do with Christianity. And yes, of course the date was chosen to align with a pagan winter festival.
Old news to most readers. And all legit. But still.
We are living in an era when the same people argue that Santa Claus should not be a white man, and that Black Peter must become one. And this passes itself off as talking about Christmas.
It gets tiresome trying to focus on the appearance of God in human form -- the finite proving beyond question that it is capable of the infinite -- when one must also listen to prattle about things that are not That.
So maybe I won't this year. Let's keep Christmas simple: just the Incarnation, and nothing else.