This in-depth piece on the idea of family from The New York Times is fascinating for the stats and viewpoints it shares. The article hammers home the idea that how families look is changing. It's a worthy Christmas Day read as you're close to your family, whatever it looks like.
In particular, I love this synopsis:
In increasing numbers, blacks marry whites, atheists marry Baptists, men marry men and women women, Democrats marry Republicans and start talk shows. Good friends join forces as part of the “voluntary kin” movement, sharing medical directives, wills, even adopting one another legally.
In other words, "family" may look and act different than you think, and some of the best ones draw the circle as wide as possible to fit in as many people as possible.
It's a helpful reminder on a day when we think about how kings can be manger-sized. How kindness is best when it's unconditional. When we can remember that love, hope, faith, and charity can pop up when least expected.
Things don't always arrive nicely wrapped. The things we really need - deep down - rarely do, actually.
But if we're ready to receive, when we get out of the way of our own bias, prejudice, and expectation, beauty takes root.
May you grow beauty, no matter what it looks like.