Amy Welborn linked to an artcle she wrote last year which I thought was quite good:
The really traditional Christian remembrance of the Nativity is not about sweetness. It is about awe, fear, and trembling, and it is shot through with hints of suffering to come.
The Vatican lit the Christmas tree in St. Peter's Square yesterday. Bill will finish assembling ours this morning. He adds the lights as he puts the faux fir together. New this year are chili pepper lights. One day, I think the specialty lights will take over the whole thing: we already have bubble light angels, bubble light snowmen, M&M guys, cars, holly & ivy, lanterns, others. All told, he'll put over 2000 lights on the 7 foot tree. To say it's bright is an understatement.
And another interesting read, this one from CNA: World still seeks true Savior, must avoid false prophets and shortcuts, Pope says.
"Does mankind in our own time still await the Savior?" the Pope asked. "It appears that many people consider God as foreign to their interests. They have no apparent need of Him, and live as if He did not exist or, worse still, as if He were an 'obstacle' to be removed in order to achieve self-fulfillment. Even among believers ... are those who let themselves be attracted by alluring mirages and distracted by misleading doctrines that propose illusory shortcuts to happiness.”
"And yet," he added, "with all their contradictions, their anguish and their dramas - or perhaps precisely because of them - men and women today seek a road of renewal, of salvation, they seek a Savior and await, sometimes without knowing it, the coming of Christ, man's only true Redeemer."
“Of course, false prophets continue to propose 'low cost' salvation, which always ends up delivering resounding disillusionment. Indeed, the history of the last 50 years provides an example of this search for a 'low cost' Savior and highlights all the consequent disillusionment."
For this reason, the Pope concluded, Christians must, "with the testimony of their lives, propagate the truth of Christmas, which Christ brings to all men and women of good will. Born into poverty in the manger, Jesus came to offer everyone the joy and peace which alone can satisfy the needs of the human soul."