Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Stopping To Enjoy The Season

This is always an interesting, reflective time of year.  It is when people profess to be thankful for the people in their lives, their health, etc., etc.,

Then go out and shop for junk on Black Friday, now, right on Thanksgiving Day.

Oh how American it is.

The "holiday" itself is ingrained in the folklore of the country.  The President pardons the turkey, schools are closed, often, the entire last half of the week is a holiday.  Until the National Federation of Retailers decided that Friday was a slow day and made up a shopping holiday, most retail employees could be guaranteed at least Thanksgiving and Christmas days off.

Not anymore.

The national thankfulness and appreciation of all that this country is of supposed brotherhood and kindness has given way to sales advertised before the Halloween candy is even digested.

It has to stop and it can only stop with the American consumer, even that work, consumer is troubling, deciding that they will not "consume" away their soul for the sake of a black dot on the spread sheet.

Small Business Saturday campaigns have been springing up over the past couple years to draw attention to the many "mom & pop" establishments that are the backbone and flavor of any local community.  They are promoting themselves and letting the community know that they will be home with their families, as will their employees, and they will not be opening at o'dark' thirty for some deal that is not a deal.  They will be there to serve the community with the just-right-latte or perfect holiday gift.

The greed that has permeated society is more than enough to have social media in a buzz with conversations ranging from planned pickets of the wally-world big boxes, to the ridiculous folks camped out before the turkey is even thawed, just to get one of those rare "must haves."

For the First Nation Americans, the day is a sad one, often overlooked by the majority of Americans.  It is a day that commemorates the English coming to these shores with their hunger, their greed, their disease, and their envy.  It commemorates the pilaging of these vast lands and displacements of all indigenous tribes. It, like Columbus Day, represents days of blood, pain, and tears, not turkey, shopping, and greed.

This year is also significant because it is also the kickoff of Hanukkah. The Jewish community from the Chabad to the Contemporary, will be lighting the Menorah and taking part in their days of celebration.

None of the things that make this time of year significant include shopping til one drops, if it is really seen as a time of reflection and hope, of renewal and joy.

There are some things to certainly be thankful for and to certainly pause and fellowship with families. Hopefully more and more people will realize it and embrace the messages coming from the Pope, the workers, the children, even social media - life is about so much more than stuff, take a moment to enjoy the season for what it is truly about.

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