It seems to hit every Advent.
The rush of last-minute shopping, the crash of the schedule as every. single. child is in a performance right before Christmas that requires multiple, non-excused rehearsals, colds, flu, stomach bugs, laryngitis, travel, delayed travel, cancelled travel, everyone you run into is on edge, expectations aren’t met, and these are things just in your life.
If you turn on the news… never mind. Don’t turn on the news. They’re in the business of selling doom and gloom, and “if it bleeds, it leads,” so you know what to expect there.
You just want it over with. “As soon as Christmas is over,” I’ve heard people say, or, “If I can just make it to January,” and I even heard someone refer to the “impending” holidays, a word I’ve usually heard followed with “doom”.
This is what I heard a priest refer to years ago as “the feast beast.”
Bottom line, the devil is going to do everything in his power to distract us from the truth of these holy days, keeping us further from God as possible. It doesn’t matter if these are natural occurances, other people’s sins hurting us, or our own distraction from what is true.
The devil doesn’t care. The lies and distractions and temptations coming from him only serve to keep our eyes off Jesus.
Christmas isn’t another obligation to get through. Its the day that God humbled Himself so as to enter the world as the most vulnerable of His beloved creatures, an infant. Born of a virgin, teenaged girl who was betrothed to a man who could only secure an animal’s habitat as shelter and comfort for her as she continued her “fiat”. It was the day that had been promised by God to His Chosen People for thousands of years, the long awaited fullness of time, when God every so quietly slipped into our world in a way that He hadn’t before, to redeem His people, save us from our sins, and offer us the hope that while this world is a world of suffering, sometimes tedious, sometimes heartbreaking, that we can now look forward with joyful anticipation to Heaven, with God, for all eternity, in perfect happiness.
Its tough, but try not to be distracted from this. You don’t need to take on new devotions or practices, because doing too much can still even serve as another distraction. But when you find yourself becoming overwhelmed with the “stuff” of Christmas, take a minute, and look at the manger scene, or a crucifix, and remember, that Christmas isn’t about getting the house cleaned for guests, or finding the right present for someone, even if these things are important.
Christmas is about the radical love that God has for you, that He wants us to share with each other. Don’t let that other guy distract you from that.