A Christmas Rant

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black-friday-crowd-1600x935-650x379To many it seems like Christmas is coming earlier and earlier each year! It wasn’t but hours after Halloween was over that the Christmas decorations were up in stores already! If that isn’t sad enough, just today there was another announcement that the Thanksgiving holiday was getting cut shorter and shorter.
http://guardianlv.com/2013/11/black-friday-looms-larger-than-ever/

I remember telling Kay at one point Thanksgiving as a day will soon be gone. Oh, work will still cease, offices will still close, families will still gather for a nice meal, but retail will stay open. Why? It’s because as the bottom line of big box stores gets squeezed, the pressure will be to make up for lost profit. Retailers will say, “If ‘they’ (the competition) are staying open we have to stay open as well”. In addition, in a consumer-driven culture where getting cheap goods for Christmas rules the day, Black Friday deals are now becoming Black Thursday night deals which will become Black Thursday deals. Trust me… coveting is one of the strongest vices in the human heart and people will justify it in numerous ways (“I just got a great deal”).

Here’s what it all “feels” like to me: There’s a way of praying that is quick and shallow because one is so excited about how good the meal is going to be. You know, it’s those superficial prayers that feel rote because they have no real depth or meaning, there’s no heart involved, and for sure it doesn’t feel grateful really for anything. The prayer is simply a formality that has to be expressed so we can start eating! That’s what Thanksgiving is becoming. It feels like a cheap, quick way to say “thanks” and then it’s on to the really good stuff of Christmas.

I wonder if God orchestrated it so that Thanksgiving would fall before Christmas. Why? It’s hard to receive anything in the right kind of way if you aren’t grateful for anything. In the same way it’s particularly hard to receive the message of God’s self-giving to the world if people do not have the space in their hearts to slow down and express gratitude.

3 thoughts on “A Christmas Rant

  1. Though we do very little in the “gift department” for Christmas, I do love trekking in the wee hours of the morning to find a few bargains. It is usually practical stuff, bath towels, jammies, …and an occasional “hey our (TV, Dishwasher, DVD Player) died, this is a good day to buy a new one.” But the kids and I meander back to what we are looking for and if it is still there, great, if not…oh well. We love watching people, especially the rude, grumpy and greedy ones. We buy a stack of $5 Starbucks cards and hand them out to the worst of the worst. The ones impatient in the long lines, the ones rude to the cashiers, basically the ones you want to punch in the face! We hand it to them, saying “Merry Christmas, I hope your day gets better!” Then on the card it simply says “Smile, Enjoy, God Loves You! From, A Friend”

    I do not understand the Thursday thing though…it seems a few that opened Thursday last year are not doing it this year….and I was happy, but just as many that were not open on Thursday last year, are now open on Thursday this year. Bummer!

    On the other side though, my daughter and I were standing outside of Best Buy to get a certificate to get a couple of Free Cell Phones that my husband and I had wanted. It was about 3 or 4a on Friday and a guy wearing a mask was toting a sign that said” Go Home To Your Families…Greed Is Not God’s Way.” Well that may be true, but it was the middle of the “night” and my hubby was quite pleased to be asleep in the warm cozy bed. Plus I think his message may have gotten a little lost…being the time of day, the fact he wore a mask, and the fact he wasn’t at home with his family….Just sayin’!

    Just a bunch of random rambling to say I agree with you, Jon…nice post!

  2. Thanks for this Jon. As I was reading the end of your post, it came to mind that it might be beneficial to have a season of thanksgiving leading unto Christmas. Not that thanksgiving shouldn’t always be happening, but it is something that takes habit-forming…so perhaps this season can be a good time to practice being thankful…not just for a day, but for several days to start and hopefully the habit will keep on building.

    Anyway, to begin…thank YOU for this post and for the reminder.

  3. jonnitta

    I think you hit on something important Katrina. Thankfulness is not just a disposition but something that must be cultivated in our lives. What I mean is that it’s almost as if we need to learn how to become thankful people, especially those who live in cultures where entitlement is the current ethos. Your thoughts were great!

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