I wonder how often you've heard someone say that? I wonder how often you've agreed with them? Perhaps you've been the one to say it. It's so easy to be overwhelmed by it all, to feel that we're being controlled by the demands that Christmas puts upon us, rather than the other way around. It's certainly the case that Christmas does seem to gather a momentum all of its own that is difficult for us to resist.
And then there's all the talk about the “true meaning of Christmas,” which seems to boil down to some sort of sentimental message about being kind, or generous, or loving to one another.
And not to forget the over the top Christmas decorations that your neighbour insists on putting up every year; and the annoying Christmas music on the radio; the depressing Christmas TV; the constant charity demands in the post, by email, in the adverts; the office party; the presents that you cannot imagine how they ever thought that you'd either like or need.
There are so many reasons to hate Christmas.
But, none of that is Christmas at all. Those are all the things that hide Christmas from us so that we don't have to face its true meaning; so that we're not challenged by the Word made flesh. We seem to build all this stuff around Christmas so that we don't have to think about what it really is all about.
Now – three days before Christmas – might be a really good time to spend a few moments thinking about where you will find the real Christmas. How will you find a space to hear the message of the angels? Where will you create a little stillness in your schedule to adore the Christ-child?
Perhaps it will be in Church – at the midnight mass, a prayer in front of the crib. Maybe it will be in listening to some carols on the radio or on the television. It could be in a few moments reading the Christmas story in the bible (Luke 1.26-2.40; Matthew 1.18-2.23). Possibly a few moments in prayer praising God for the Word made flesh (John 1.1-14). Why not a few minutes in the garden on Christmas night looking at the stars and imagining yourself on that Bethlehem hillside or following the star to Bethlehem? Or popping across the road to visit your neighbour who you know will be alone this Christmas, or making a donation to a charity, or lighting a candle to remind yourself that the rue light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
We talk so often of the Christmas message, Christmas peace, Christmas joy – and yet do so little to find it for ourselves. Perhaps you'll make a little space for it this Christmas.