In speaking with Otis this evening, I think he hit on at least part of the sense of my malaise: for the first time in a great deal of years, I'm afraid during the holiday season.
Economically related, of course - yet I can't remember the last time that Christmas was tinged with a halo of doom around it. Never, at least in my memory, has such discussions ranged around layoffs so close to Christmas - not in the tens or thousands, but in the tens of thousands.
Perhaps I'm feeling it personally as well. My previous company was announced as purchased today - which always worries me for those I know there. My current company had their board meeting today, with what I believe are significant changes to how the company operates (significant in the sense of "last throw of the dice" significant).
It either causes, adds to, or heightens whatever else I was feeling, making it more difficult to concentrate on the holiday season. But again, is this foreign to what Mary and Joseph knew: a land occupied by the Romans, traveling a long road with no idea where they would stay, having a child in an animal stable, called by God when they could explain it to no-one else? Fear? Surely they felt their share of it, even as they saw the face of the Creator that night.
Perhaps this Christmas will be closer to the first, in that sense, than any other in my life.