Turning to the disciples in private he said,
“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.
For I say to you,
many prophets and kings desired to see what you see,
but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”
It's a commonplace to hear us Catholics complain about how the world around us skips Advent and goes straight to Christmas, and then gives up on the Christmas season after one day. I don't think the world celebrates Christmas at all, but observes the pagan festival of Yule, but that's another rant.
More and more I experience all of the lights, decorations, sales, and trite songs as a form of denial. In ministry you learn quickly that this is a very hard time of year for a lot of people. The dark days make people blue. Many anniversaries of death are recalled. Family conflicts flare up.
The Advent season speaks to this spiritual condition. It is an invitation to enter into the dark places of our hearts and find the longing for God, the misinterpretation of which is the cause of so much of our misery in the first place. Advent invites us to give up on the failed strategy of drowning our alienation and despair with bright lights and noise, and invites us to seek the single Light that desires to be born into our personal darkness.