I am in my annual post-Thanksgiving stupor (what is it about turkey and all the trimmings that makes we want to take a long winter's nap?), and realized that this Sunday is the Christian church's official beginning of the Christmas season. We call it "Advent". The word "Advent" means arrival or coming and is designed to help us prepare for the advent of Jesus Christ in the Christmas celebration.
I realize that the celebration of the birth of Jesus is arbitrary. We don't know what day or month Jesus was actually born. We do know the place and we have a good idea of the general time frame (Caesar August, Quirinius is governor of Syria -- Luke 2:1). I also realize that the date was set on December 25 sometime after Constantine to "Christianize" the older pagan festival of lights that celebrated the return of the sun following the Winter Solstice.
Part of the Christmas difficulty is this: although the celebration of the birth of Christ is important (or more importantly the celebration of God becoming a human being -- that thing we call "Incarnation") it is all jumbled and muddled up with things like the "Festival of Lights" and "Yuletide" celebrations that have little to do with Jesus and more to do with dark winter parties and gift giving.
Keeping our celebration of the Incarnation separate from the commercial din and background noise of parallel celebrations is not easy. I suggest making time, remembering the story, making quite space for worship, find a church that remembers ITS reason for the season. And make space to prepare your heart. Christ is Coming, alleluia!