I DESPISE BLACK FRIDAY.
And I despise even more that Black Friday has given way to Black Thursday which is supposed to be Thanksgiving.
So, here we are. National craziness somehow seen as patriotism because our entire economy rests on the hopes and dreams of retailers making money on a whole bunch of junk that diminishes Christmas to a ritual of hedonism, gluttony and greed.
Okay, that’s how I feel.
I LOVE CHRISTMAS.
I love the sentiment, the fuzzy soft colors, I love Santa, I love nativity scenes. I love the angels and the magi and the donkeys. I love the gaze of wonder in all the sentimental pictures of Mary and Joseph and shepherds and kings and cattle around the beautiful child with a golden glow emanating and surrounding him. I love the carols. I love remembering the hope and anticipation that is the right of all children and whatever is left of innocence in each of us.
I love the mad craziness of hope and miracle and redemption in the midst of the ordinary and in the midst of the ugly through the birth of a child. Yes, the birth of a child.
I love the giving of gifts that draws us out of ourselves to think of what might please another and the wrapping and anticipation of their joy in receiving it.
That’s how I feel.
Here is what I know. I know that parents who deprive their children of an education in the meaning of Christmas, in the meaning of the Light that darkness cannot overcome are negligent. And parents who camp out missing Thanksgiving dinner with their children to get their hands on the must have gizmo are disgraceful.
The pagans had it right– the natural theology that is our divine gift prompted winter darkened northern Europe to celebrate with fires and evergreens and songs and stories that promised hope that light would come and renew the earth, renew the people. The missionaries who adopted this ancient celebration to the birth of Jesus were brilliant, and by the way, great marketers.
But, I really don’t think they anticipated people camping out in the middle of the night vying for first place to get a fake sale price on a nintendo or flat screen TV. Or the trampling underfoot of the less nimble in a mad rush of greed. And every year on the Black Friday evening news we see footage of someone killed or mauled or beaten after waiting in line for hours for this insanity.
That said, I still have to shop for Christmas. But not today.