With Christmas around the corner, it is painstakingly obvious how commercialized our values have become. Certainly our nation is a country of many nationalities and religious backgrounds with a seemingly never-ending controversy over the labeling of holidays like Christmas or Easter, as it forcibly imposes one religion upon another.
However, it seems for many the Christmas tradition has become an automatic and passing action of the year. It has become standard to see Santa characters and lights adorning homes and shopping malls before Halloween, and by Thanksgiving, strategies have been drawn for the Black Friday shopping battle. Each year seems to intensify the economic significance surrounding these designated times of faithful celebration of our devotion and values. More discussion seems to surround the amazing and marvelous deals that will be received for televisions and computers than the thankfulness of sharing in a meal (breaking bread so to speak) and family during the holiday season.
It is clearly ironic that the two most intendedly selfless holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas, are becoming overshadowed by materialism and economic capitalism.
Even with best intentions in mind, this illustration has not only become common, it seems to be an unquestionable face of the Christian holiday. For many who fight for the term “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays,” it is a stake in their religious ‘right’ to say, “I am a Christian who celebrates Christmas!” However, maybe we should be asking which Christmas, the Christmas representing the birth of a savior, Jesus Christ, or the Christmas that represents American capitalism at its best?
As Chris Rock cleverly humored in his SNL monologue, only American capitalists can take the birth of the least materialistic and selfless individual and turn it into a materialized frenzy.
Christmas is literally used as a baseline to determine the economic stability of our country based on the shopping habits of its faith-abiding Christians. How could this possibly represent the faith behind the individual who truly believes in God and Jesus Christ? Clearly the higher power involved in this paradigm is not of the celebrated godly nature, but of the elevated material value created by man himself. Christian faith has essentially been entwined into capitalism and its faithful countrymen are struggling to see where one ends and the other begins. Regardless of one’s identified denomination of faith, this could be agreed upon across the religious spectrum.
It must be asked, would we have a greater peacefulness if the most traditionally celebrated religious holidays were not laden with commercialized materialism? Should corporate America shape how our faith is represented (in celebration and in general)?
In the Christian faith, Christ will always remain in Christmas, but for believes like myself, we must remember to engage in the fundamental values of his selfless sacrifices. Consider giving your time, attention, and love to those who are in the greatest need… family, friends, neighbor, or stranger.
Despite the best intentions behind material gift-giving, they simply cannot fulfill the human need for benevolence and love. Exchanging the material gifts for humble acts of kindness can not only benefit the individual human spirit, but change our overall general interactions, regardless of religious identification.
The personal views expressed in this post are the writers’ own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Minnesota Connected or its sponsors.