To the Ecclesia at Two Steeples Parish, Greetings!
Just before Thanksgiving, I wrote a little ‘screed’ to the State Journal, about more and more stores choosing to open on Thanksgiving Day, and it was actually published – the Saturday after Thanksgiving!
I won’t repeat here all I said there, but the gist of it was whether we really wanted consumerism taking over yet another national holiday – “Black Friday” shopping on Thanksgiving Eve, Presidents Day, Veterans Day and the rest all three-day excuses for “Big Savings” . . . and would Martin Luther King, Jr. Day White Sales be far behind?
And the commercialization of Christmas has been, of course, a reality for decades. We bemoan it, we grouse about it . . . but then we buy into it all the same (pun intended) when we run around for the hottest bargains of the season, load up on lights and tinsel, and basically shop ‘til we drop.
It’s not really the retailers’ fault – they open up and lo, people are there to shop. But what if they opened their doors Thanksgiving night . . . and nobody was standing there? Despite the Big Deals and the Special Offers and the Huge Savings? Might that convey a message that hey, we actually want to spend this day with family and friends; we really choose this time to quietly be thankful for what we have, not anxious about what we think we want.
Yeah, it’s unrealistic to imagine the whole nation will suddenly get the same idea and decide sometimes you need to set aside days (Sabbaths!) truly to rest and reflect and not shop and spend. But then, it is “unrealistic” that a baby born in a barn to peasant nobodies in a backwater village would grow up to change the hearts and minds and lives of millions of people over 2000 years. Yet he did, and he continues to transform individuals and societies and nations by his gentle grace and his forgiving love.
May the celebration of his birth renew focus on what is truly most important in our lives every holiday and every ordinary day.
A Blessed Advent & Christmas to You!
Pastor Jeff Jacobs