Saturday, December 6, 2008

T'is the Season

The Christmas season seems to bring out the best and worst in society.

I may offend some of my faithful readers but I detest the whole concept of black Friday. To me it says, "let's interrupt what is to be a weekend of giving thanks and family and instead wake up early so we are grouchy then go spend the day consuming instead of giving thanks and in some cases being rude to other customers instead of enjoying our families." I mean stampedes to the point of death?? Really? What kind of society is this? I see shoppers frantically purchasing things because they feel expected to provide a gift. What happened to spending weeks in thoughtful preparation to show appreciation and admiration? It makes me sad to see how consumer-oriented the holidays are. This year we have the added, dualistic pressures of the recession: money is tighter, yet it is our patriotic duty to stimulate the economy. Sad.

On the other hand, people are so very generous during this time of year. I love to hear of and see people taking care of others. I see people reaching out to make sure children and adults have some kind of gift Christmas morning. Even in the midst of the recession, people give to the food pantry or to their neighbors. I love to see homes opened up to welcome the lonely into the circle of love and friendship and family during the holidays. There seriously is so much good that is done.

It seems that often during the year we think about giving in more global terms. We give to organizations (our church, non-profits, government agencies) but at Christmastime we more often reach out to individuals in our midst. It reminds me of a section in C.S. Lewis's book The Screwtape Letters*, in which Screwtape tells Wormwood, “Do what you will, there is going to be some benevolence, as well as some malice, in your patient’s soul. The great thing is to direct the malice to his immediate neighbours whom he meets every day and to thrust his benevolence out to the remote circumference, to people he does not know. The malice thus becomes wholly real and the benevolence largely imaginary."

I love that at Christmas we show our benevolence in ways that it becomes wholly real. I hope that I extend that reality throughout the year.

*The Screwtape Letters is a fictional account of Screwtape (a devil) training his nephew (Wormwood) in the art of temptation. It is such an insightful and interesting book, I highly recommend it (and pretty much any of Lewis's books).

4 response(s):

amy greenway said...

AMEN Sister! I love the warm coziness of Thanksgiving and I just don't have it in me to tarnish that by forcing myself into the horrible crowds and early morning cold. NO thanks, I'll stay home and sip wassial, put up Christmas decor and crank the Christmas music.

Alisha said...

I see Black Friday in a much different light...are you suprised? Despite the ugliness that can occur and the complete commercialism of the day, there are some good things that happen. You do see some people being nice and filled with the holiday cheer as you stand in the LONG lines, you do get to hear the wonderful Christmas music in the background as you shop, and finally it is the day that the stores choose to GIVE us consumers a little bit back with their crazy low prices or giveaway promotions. I still love that day and always will, however for me it is not so much a part of my Christmas celebration as it is a part of my addiction to good deals. I do agree with you that I love the generosity exhibited by so many during this wonderful time of year.

wendy said...

Still waiting to win --wanna win. LET ME WIN. Corrie would WANT me to win. If I say Merry Christmas --can I win.

xunil2 said...

That's why I prefer Buy Nothing Day. Look it up. It's a great way to reject Black Friday.