Even in the secular imagination, dying has become a vocation.
Updike's religious explorations are what make his writing so interesting, and Adam Begley explores them well. But he devotes too much space to trying to link fictional settings and characters with Updike's real life.
The birth of Jesus contradicts the idea of a God who "lay above the earth like a layer of icy cirrus." The birth means that we encounter God, not only in elegant theology but in work and in our enjoyment of beauty, friendship and love—in love particularly.