I certainly understand, and to some extent share [Father James] Martin’s frustration [with over-commercialization], but I am not yet ready to give up on December and Christmas. In the darkening days, we need the call for light, the promise of those twinkling wires hanging from trees and eaves and railings, and even gutters, shining in a darkness that does not overcome. Perhaps we simply have to make a more concerted effort to find and appreciate the small promptings hidden within Christmas excesses, that lead us toward the stilly night turned to song.The Anchoress has a nice piece that reflects a good deal of what I think also.
We can snark all day along, every day, about how the Christian life is overshadowed by so much in our culture that is dark. Christmas brings it to the foreground, but the tendency is there always. Yet if we fight the tendency to succumb, we can ourselves be the turning point. Sometimes we are the ones who need to hear that voice of hope, sometimes it is those around us. Regardless, it is much needed and if we don't do it, then who will?
Yes, I've sung this song before and I'll do it again. It was one of the delights that I discovered waiting for me when I found out that God was a real person who loved me. He pays attention to the details and uses them to speak hope to us. That's how He gets our attention and we could do much worse than to do likewise for those around us.
The Anchoress says it well. And so does Mother Marie des Douleurs.
…You know very well that a friendly voice is enough to set restless and troubled minds at ease. Be one of those who notice when the thermometer is rising, and not one of those who is always pointing out that it’s getting colder.
… No, you are going to be the little smile which, though delicate, on certain winter afternoons reminds people of the springtime, and is its foreshadowing, and shows that the life and the joys of living are things that are still possible and not dead and buried.
There are enough people who bury every budding hope. You, you be one who brings hope out into the light.
Mother Marie des Douleurs