I hope that you were as embarrassed and appalled as I was yesterday by the news reports of the crowds shopping on Black Friday. Honestly? This is what we have become? This is the example we want to set for our children? This is the image we want broadcast to the world on YouTube?
Proverbs 20:11 says “Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right.” I didn’t see much yesterday that was pure or right. I saw a lot of greed and selfishness and violence. I witnessed people pushing and shoving and yelling for the right to buy a bigger television or a more entertaining game at a lower price than they might pay tomorrow. Of course now they have “bragging rights” and will not only have a television with a screen ten inches bigger than their old one, but will tell everyone within earshot how little they paid for it. I’m sure if things didn’t turn out well for them on BF they would still find a bargain somewhere that was worth boasting about. Ironic that Proverbs 20:14 says “It’s no good, it’s no good!” says the buyer; then off he goes and boasts about his purchase.” I guess the nature of man never really changes. It isn’t just the item that brings pleasure, but the hunt, and the story of acquiring it.
I always have mixed emotions about the holidays in general. I grew up painfully poor and often benefited from the generosity of others. I know people can be kind and good. I know there are caring souls who are right now gathering donations and giving gifts and serving meals for the less fortunate. I know many people who shopped yesterday did it for others or to save a few bucks for something else. But I still question the wisdom of taking part in an artificial situation created by retailers to help them “set the tone” for holiday shopping. If yesterday’s events were any indication, the tone set was a desperate one.
We all have too much. I will be the first to admit my own greed. I try to live a simple life and not acquire too many useless things. But I have things I don’t really need. I collect things that simply bring me joy. I want things that will make my life easier. I am human! I think the way to balance that and stay within God’s teaching is to also give back, to also take care of others with the same care and concern that we have for our own wants and needs. It can’t just be about me, me, me.
I know that every aspect of the holidays can be filled with anguish and call for some serious decisions. Money, jobs, family relationships, gifts, and even food cause conflicts during this stressful time. I know everyone is trying to do more and pay less. I know everyone is concerned about pleasing their families. Let’s just make sure we do it with dignity. Let’s do it in a way that we won’t regret after we take down the tree.
Sad that the next story on the national news was about a family living in the back of a moving van.