Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Black (Christmas) Friday

I’ve officially decided to not partake in the traditional American Christmas celebration this year. This has been a boiling desire over the last three years. Two years ago the only reason I had a Christmas tree was because my mom and sister-in-law came up and demanded for me to have one. I will admit it was fun to be there with them and clean, set up decorations, and eat freshly baked cookies. Last year I spent with my best friends Carl and Danae and their kids, so I relied on their decorations. I’m no scrooge, but I have some serious problems with this whole idea of what we have turned Christmas into. READ THIS STORY. I was reading this story about a man who was trampled by shoppers in order to get to these killer Christmas deals. This was no small man, he was 6”5” and weighed 270 lbs. That is the size of a NFL player and he was pushed over and trampled by a crowd of smaller less powerful people. I read the story and heard about it on the news and couldn’t do anything but be quiet. Not just the fact that an innocent life was lost, but the reasons behind it. Think about the root of the problem. Man dies in Wal-Mart…why? Trampled by a crowd…why? They were so excited to get to great sales…why? The retailers know that people will go crazy and buy large amount of goods and take out credit cards in order to get these great deals…why? People are stir-crazy about Christmas shopping on Black Friday…why? They think or feel the pressure to fill the bottom of a tree up with presents…why? That’s what Christmas is about. Woah woah woah…hold on a second now….the reason this poor guy was trampled is because of Christmas? What is Christmas?

So quick side note. It is called Black Friday because back in the day, like WWII, times retailers were always operating in the red. In the red means negative, so there was no profit. The day after Thanksgiving the surge of consumers pushed the red budget into the black or positive on their books. That is the simple explanation for why it is traditionally called Black Friday. I think it’s called Black Friday because it exposes the evil that is called greed. But read on for more on that opinion.

Here is the unadulterated Christmas story. Read Luke 2, in the Bible. Surprise surprise…Christmas is simple; it is a celebration of the birth of Christ. It started as a special mass the Catholic Church put on and thus the name Christmas. So how did we get so far away from that? I’m trying to put together in my head how a bunch of psychotic American shoppers got trampling a man to death in the scurry to get to items to give as gifts from that, from the birth of God on earth. It is a little overwhelming. You know they call this time of year the most depressing and stressful for many American families. Why? Why do we just accept this statistic without thinking about why it exists? PEOPLE ARE DYING ON THE FLOOR OF WAL-MARTS BECAUSE WE DON’T THINK! The reason it is so stressful is because families go into debt to buy all these gifts for each other. Parents that cannot afford to buy it cash go in debt because they believe the standard has been set by upper class people with money enough to buy these expensive gifts. The single mom of three kids works 4 jobs in order to just buy enough gifts for her kids. She’s depressed because she is all alone and now in more debt that she cannot afford. The homeless man sits on the corner feeling like a piece of trash because everyone walks past him with bags full of clothes and toys for themselves, but won’t even look him in the eye. How is all this a celebration of the birth of Jesus?

No tree goes up in my apartment this year. I’m not buying people gifts. What for I’m not celebrating them, it’s not their birthday. I’m not going to get involve din the shopping madness. I refuse to indulge in such activities while there are people dying because of it. In 2007 there were 147 million shoppers on Black Friday. The average amount spent per person was $347.44. Let’s do some math… 147,000,000 * $347.44 = $51,073,680,000. That would be FIFTY ONE BILLION SEVENTY THREE MILLION SIX HUNDRED EIGHTY THOUSAND DOLLARS! I laugh out of total anger right now! We live in a world full of oppression and poverty beyond anything we could fathom. The poverty in the world makes our homelessness and poverty here in America look like princes and castles. That’s just in one day folks! In one day American consumers spent trillions of dollars for what?

Not for the birth of Jesus…that’s for sure. What are your Christmas traditions? What do you think Christmas is about? If you hold to the truth that it is a celebration about the birth of a savior, Jesus the Christ, son of God, then examine your behaviors this time of year, are they really to celebrate Him? I tell you a tradition I’ve started…I write long letters to everyone close to me (family and friends) and tell them how much I appreciate them and how thankful I am for them. In that letter I always go into a little discourse of how this holiday is to celebrate Jesus and why He is important. Another tradition I am going to start this year is finding a homeless person, take them to the mall, buy them a nice warm outfit, then take them out to dinner. I am going to spend time with them and tell them what this season and holiday is about and the reason for me being so kind to them. I am going to go into nursing homes and spend time with the sick and elderly. I am going to do as much as I can to celebrate the reality that I am free from death because of the birth of this sweet baby Jesus.

What’s Christmas about to you? May you seek to know Jesus and celebrate Him this season. May you not get lost in the hustle and bustle of the ugly materialistic society we live in.

Now, if you celebrate Christmas by buying family and friends gifts, good for you, just don’t let that consumer driven compulsion drive you, let the reminder that Jesus is alive motivate you!

4 comments:

  1. Aaron and I will await your letter :)
    Just remember- there are people who choose to celebrate with presents but who also know the reason for celebrating- their wonderful Savior- and do for others not just at Christmas but all the time.

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  2. i think the people who get caught up in the "holiday madness" are the people who live by cultural norms the rest of the year as well. I would hope that someone who lives their life for Jesus the rest of the year would continue to do so throughout the holidays, no matter how they celebrate.

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  3. I actually decided to celebrate Christmas outside the traditional way this last July and been considering it a while before that. I was actually only concerned to disappoint my mom. I didn't know how to bring it up. When I finally bluntly made the comment I didn't want any gifts this year and then explained she threw me off a little. She asked me where I was considering serving (since that was what I was planning). She wants my family to serve this year now, instead of anything traditional.

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  4. My post: http://arebjoorijinal.blogspot.com/2008/07/christmas-in-july.html

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