Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Holidays more than commerce

The Thanksgiving holiday weekend marked the start of the season for family gatherings, religious celebrations, office parties and shopping.  

Black Friday has come and gone, replete with the mandatory images of people rushing into big box stores only to get jammed into closed places and claw at each other with all the graciousness of a scrum, images that allow the mandatory follow-up of grumbles about commercializing Christmas and are then put away until next year.

Such grumbles ignore the hard reality that for many retailers, this season gets them across the line from financial failure to success. In an economy dependent on the health of commerce, and a nation formed on the separation of church and state, there is nothing wrong with a shopping season per se. 

A cynic, we are told by Oscar Wilde, is a person who knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing. Is a life truly without value if someone else gets the desired treasure? Is life as we know it over if someone else gets a better price?

These holidays should be and are about more than commerce. The value of the holiday season we are entering has to do with seeing possibilities and opportunities to be thankful and to be generous by feeding the hungry, caring for the homeless and comforting the lonely.

When someone inevitably says there is a war on Christmas, suggest that they can win the war by making the values of peace and love proclaimed at Christmas more than just words but actions that reflect concern not so much about what you have as about who you are.



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