Christmas stories are heart-warming, they are touching, and even if tear-inducing, they tend to exude happiness. Christmas is a season of joy, the celebration of God's gift to His children.
But not all Christmas stories are happy, and so it has been even from the day of Christ's birth. Who has not reflected on the fate of the innkeeper who, through no fault of his own, had to turn the couple away? We hear the angel chorus whose anthem rings down through the ages, "Gloria in excelcis Deo," the chorus heard by the shepherds on the hills surrounding Bethlehem, What joy!
And yet come from somewhere afar, rich men seeking the newborn king and bearing expensive gifts. Seeking, of course, in a logical and prudent manner, they are the ones who break the news to Herod that a king has been born in Israel. And though they complete their mission, find the king, and worship him, they have set in motion a series of events which cost the lives of countless babes, a most unhappy twist to the course of events introducing our Redeemer. And though God spared Jesus from Herod's slaughter of the innocents, Christ ultimately died, too, a sacrifice as a one-time, all-time means of salvation for mankind.
Through Christ's death and resurrection we may stand before God, for Jesus bore our iniquity and sits today in intercession for us at God's right hand.
Now that is a happy Christmas story!