This year seems different ...
The cat decorated. Well, she only just kitzles the decorations which have been put up. She's crazy about shiny stuff.
Nevertheless, this year Advent and Christmas are different for me - wonderfully different. I do not have a sense of waiting or looking forward to Christmas. Everything seems to me artificial about that. The liturgy is alive for me, Christ is present in it - he lives and makes intercession for us. besides, he has already come - he is here - he is present. The Bridegroom is here. I wish I had language to express that sense - yet the liturgy does it for me. When Our Lady carried Christ in her immaculate womb, did she anticipate his 'coming'? Now you see what I mean ...
Secular Christmas, lights, decorations, outlandish outdoor displays with electronic music, Santa impersonators all over, silly ads, sappy Christmas specials, sentimental Christmas stories, carols, costumes, I am completely indifferent to these. It's not Christmas. It is simply entertainment. That stuff doesn't matter - it is what it is and that's just fine - take it for what it is. let no one take your joy away. Giving presents, giving alms, working with the poor - even just at Christmas, that's fine too, and it's probably better, more satisfying - yet Christmas is more than what we do.
Oh - and the war on Christmas? It isn't real. No one can stop Christmas - it already happened and happens now. It is beyond any one's power to abolish it. It is a mystery unfolded and unfolding, revealed and revealing - for those who are able to accept it, able to receive it. Christmas is a gift to be received - and the gift we receive we give as a gift. Nothing stands in our way except the desire to control and construct the holidays into an idol of our personal preference - an ideal we imagine to suit our taste, with the decree, 'this is how it should be' - only when it disappoints, or someone breaks the rules, we become disgruntled and annoyed.
Every year it becomes clearer to me - and I hope for you: Christ is already born - he dwells amongst us - now. He is risen and lives to make intercession for us, and we participate in that, in and through the liturgy, the prayer of the Church.