By: Patti Bankson
For too many Americans, Christmas is all, and only, about presents. And itâ€™s gotten to be not just ridiculous, but completely crazy!
Whatâ€™s most crazy is what they call, â€œBlack Fridayâ€. Thatâ€™s the day after Thanksgiving when retailers hope shoppers will take them out of the red and into the black financially. They have these door-buster sales and people stand outside for hours waiting for the doors to open. Or, in the case of a Long Island, NY Wal-Mart, they waited to turn it into a literal door-buster… they took the doors off the hinges as they swarmed into the store as though their lives depended on them getting in and getting to whatever thing they thought they couldnâ€™t live without.
Unfortunately for a young employee of that store, it was his life on the line…. he was what stood between the shoppers and the merchandise they thought was so precious, and they were more than willing to trample him to death, without a backward glance, in order to get to it. Even the emergency workers, trying to save the manâ€™s life, were walked over. Again, without even a backward glance. How do you go home after being part of a killing mob like that and still enjoy wrapping those presents you bought that day? How do you enjoy giving those presents to someone you love knowing that your wild-eyed greed cost an innocent person his life? Someone who perhaps worked there in order to make their loved ones Christmas a little better? I donâ€™t know, but I do know that I couldnâ€™t do it.
I see things like that and read things like: â€œMy child wonâ€™t have a Christmas tree this yearâ€, and I think… â€œWow, they really donâ€™t get it, do they?â€ I understand the emotion, but the emotion doesnâ€™t have to be the reality. The Want and The Need are two different things. You can make Christmas whatever you want it to be.
I remember a Christmas long ago when we didnâ€™t have a lot of money… make that any money. We had just moved from L.A. to Denver and into a house that wasnâ€™t anywhere near our dream house. My husband had just started a job that wasnâ€™t his dream job and, if weâ€™d been looking at
Christmas through a different prism, it wasnâ€™t going to be a dream Christmas. But on Christmas Eve my husband came home with a tree straight out of A Charlie Brown Christmas that we happily decorated… and he gave me a great gift. He had fixed our iron that had been broken in a fall off the ironing board, put it in a box, wrapped it and put it under that scruffy little tree. Although weâ€™ve had more prosperous Christmases since then, the beauty and love in that one stands out in my memory as a very special time.
We need to remember, show others … and teach our children… what Christmas really means. That itâ€™s the love that goes into the gifts we give that really matters, not how big or expensive the gift itself is. And, of course, that Jesus really is the reason for the season, as they say. Because, if ever love was contained in a gift, it was the love that God showed us when he gave us the gift of His only Son.
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Â© 2008 Patti Bankson
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