‘Tis the season. . .of greed? Selfishness? Rudeness? I don’t know why, but each year on Black Friday, I am shocked to hear of people getting into fist fights over a pair of pants, pushing other people out of the way in order to get to the “deal” first, and screaming at each other all in the name of “Christmas”! People have even been seriously injured and some killed while these greedy shoppers run over to the newest flat screen t.v. or Xbox!
Are these children fighting over their favorite toy? No, it’s the grownups – the same ones who just that day broke up a fight between two of their kids for pushing, hitting, or yelling at each other. These same grownups are teaching their children to be polite, considerate of others, and kind. So what happens at this time of year that makes these same parents turn into bratty children?
One of my friends posted on Facebook today that she overheard a child tell her mom, “If you don’t buy me that Barbie, I hate you! I hate your face! I hate your purse! I hate your head! I hate your shoes! I will never, ever love you again!” Wow! Do you think this child is worthy of receiving that gift? Do you think her mom is going to buy it for her? I’m not sure, but I can guess that it probably wouldn’t occur to her mom to not get that item for her. After all, she wants it! Perhaps she needs a little less gift-getting this year and a little more time helping out someone less fortunate.
I love this time of year, but I absolutely hate to visit my husband at work during the Christmas season because he works on one of the worst roads for Christmas traffic! It wouldn’t be so bad if everyone obeyed the traffic laws; but for some reason, Christmas time seems to produce the absolute worst drivers, who think it’s okay to sit in the intersection when the light is red, so no one else can get in their lane. The traffic jams and tempers that result are just a sign that we’ve lost the true value of Christmas! Even parking lots are places where people think they can park in front of the store, blocking everyone else from even getting into the parking lot, just because they couldn’t find a space up front.
Me, me, me. Now, now, now. I want, I need, I deserve. Do these sound familiar at this time of year? Don’t get me wrong – I love to give and receive presents. In fact, most would say that it is my “love language” (check out The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman). But I’m not willing to lose my temper, push someone down, or get out my pepper spray to make sure I get the deal! These items are just things; next year, they will have been forgotten, broken, and replaced by the next newest toy.
So what can we do? How can we bring our perspective back to Christmas – to celebrating the fact that Jesus left heaven to come to this earth as a baby to grow into the man Who would give His life to save us from our sins? Well, we can begin by cutting back a little bit this year. Instead of buying your children the latest, most expensive toys, use some of that money to donate to a family in need. There are still so many families in our country who have been hit hard by the economy. Have you considered buying for them this year? Can you take some time to volunteer at your local soup kitchen, children’s home, or assisted living facility? Can you foster a child for the holidays?
Our children are watching our every move. If we want to end the craziness that begins on Black Friday and lasts through Christmas, then we need to show them how to behave by our own actions. Deals come and go. You can probably find that same item online with free shipping. But even if you don’t, does it really matter? How much will you suffer if you don’t have the latest gadget? Obey the traffic laws – even if those around you aren’t. Let someone with fewer groceries than you get in front of you in line. Say a kind word to the store clerk, who is probably exhausted and irritated by aggressive, mean-spirited customers. Smile and be courteous to other shoppers.
If we expect our children to behave when they are out in public, then why should we expect any less of ourselves? Let’s make this a holiday season where love and peace abound, and Christ is honored.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” – Luke 2:14.