Saturday, December 10, 2005

Rethinking Christmas materialism

At this time of the year the most common theme - aside from the so-called war on Christmas - is that of the unfortunate rise of materialism during the Christmas season. It is true that we seem to have lost focus of what Christmas is all about. Instead of anticipating the celebration of the birth of our Savior, we spend a lot of time in malls buying up Christmas presents for our friends and family. Television barrages the senses with Christmas sales and specials beginning sometime in, oh, September. And I do think that Christmas has been tarnished by this crass commercialization.

But, there is one silver lining to this. Rather than it being a sign of greed and materialism, this Christmas rush does indicate a sense of selflessness. After all, these people are not in a rush to go buying material goods for themselves. Okay, we might all take a little bit of that Christmas bonus and buy ourselves a goody or two (as I did in purchasing a new humidor), but by far the vast majority of that money being spent is by individuals buying gifts for others. It is something of a healthy sign about human nature that people would spend so much time, energy, and money in order to make others happy.

Again, that's not to say that we should not channel that Christmas spirit in other directions, but it does strike me that there is at least one positive message to gleen from the commercialization of this sacred holiday. It's not much, but cranky pessimism is not the singular Christian virtue.


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