Domenichino (Domenico Zampieri), The Adoration of the Shepherds, c. 1607-10, Oil on canvas, 143 x 115cm, National Gallery of Scotland.
I am not a big fan of Dowd but today's column on Dickens and "the Christmas Carol" is a good one. She makes the point that Dicken's story still resonates with many of us because of our own childhood experiences of rejection, abuse and misery.
The official Christmas story is of a child who comes to redeem the world; the reality is that Jewish baby, born of poor parents, would today be one of the world's beaten, scorned, insulted or ignored.
The miracle is that some do remember the real meaning of the Nativity and reach out with compassion, help and tolerance. Try to celebrate that message of Christmas and not the bellow of consumer greed, intolerance or ignorance that screams loudly to block out the cries of the suffering world.