In Southern California, approximately twenty people are recovering from being pepper sprayed by a woman intent on getting her hands on sale items. Here in the Bay Area, a man is recovering from a gunshot wound sustained in a botched robbery at the Wal-Mart a mile and a half from my house. It is definitely a black Friday.
The commercialization of holidays has been steadily increasing year to year. I ordered my daughter’s Halloween costume in July. Costco had stocked Christmas decorations well before I bought Halloween candy. Stores began opening on Thanksgiving night in an effort to lure shoppers. With this emphasis on buying, there is a heightened sense of desperation, the pressure to purchase things that will somehow make the holidays special during these difficult times. But things never did give much comfort.
I won’t argue that things are not necessities and that they don’t bring us pleasure. The sight of my daughter in her footed pajamas makes me smile. I also love to watch her serve me tea from her toy kitchen. I went against my own commitment to buy nothing today and purchased an Advent calendar online so we can begin a new family tradition. But things add to our sense of comfort and celebration. They are not the reason or the cause.
Today is a good day to rediscover the holiness that originated holidays. My own faith life has been tested by a hectic schedule and low morale about my work/career. I have a wonderful opportunity to rediscover the strength and joy my faith has given me and to teach my daughter about what I love. Money and material goods come in and out of our lives while faith prevails.