Probably like you, dear reader, I despise the commercialisation of Christmas which seems to start with gusto as soon as Fireworks Night is out of the way.
And yet, such is my feeling of joy as Christmas approaches, that I can't resist feeling a sense of excitement in the air as we near December.
Personally I don't care much for presents and all that side of it (being officially as tight as a duck's hind-quarters, like my father before me), besides which as I have crossed the Rubicon and am now in my 40s, just how many pairs of socks, underpants, after shave etc. do I need?
No, I am fully caught up in the spiritual side of Christmas and I am nothing if sentimental about the whole thing.
The cold, dark evenings remind me of when, as a child, I would look up at the stars and imagine the infant Jesus in that stable so many miles away, so many years ago also under the star-lit sky. The shepherds, the angels, then the kings from the east and so on.
That to me was and is the essence of Christmas. It is a simple vision of Christmas, one held by a child, yet it has always stayed with me.
I love the simple things about Christmas, the sense of impending happiness and joy, the carols, the liturgy of Advent, the feast of Christmas itself.
I don't want to sound like an ascetic as I love a nice beer and pork pie as much as the next middle aged man (especially when scoffed - with half a carrot - on Christmas Eve with the crumb-laden remnants left as the evidence of Santa and Rudolf's visit), but for me Christmas is all about the joy of the Nativity and that special feeling, that uplifting of the soul, that "magic" of Christmas, well I don't think it will ever leave me.
So, as much as I loathe the commercialism of Christmas to the degree that it is today a spend-fest, I cannot help but begin to be excited at the prospect of Advent and the countdown to Christmas that this heralds.
I think my all time favourite Christmas carol is Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Primarily because it was my favourite as a child and I have vivid memories of trying to reach those high notes in school assembly or standing carol singing on doorsteps in the neighbourhood, but also because it evokes that time when the Hosts of Heaven appeared to those simple workingmen on the hillside of Bethlehem to announce the birth of Our Lord and mankind's Saviour. It also reminds me of the "newborn King" - i.e. that He was and is Christ the King, to Whom all nations and societies should be subject.
So I am sorry (well, not that sorry!) if I offended anyone with my eagerness to embrace Advent and Christmas, but that is who I am.