Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Monday, December 29, 2003  

Materialism and Christmas

Every year, without fail, we hear about how crass commercialism is wrecking Christmas (yet, doesn't it seem that Happy Holidays! and crass secularism is doing the real heavy lifting in making Christmas a non-thing?).

But as Samuel Johnson said regarding money - Spend it!

Spending money is what makes the world go round, and helps your neighbors, and the world the most. People need work, and since very few people are necessary now to produce goods, power, food, defense, maintenance, and utilities - what do we do with that 75% that no longer need to till or dig?

We have them make up trinkets of one kind or another for trade. We employ a huge amount of people to design a new toy, manage the making of it, make it, supply the parts and machines, create the advertising, run the media that can promote the new toy, deliver the new toys to retailers who sell them, and so on.

If that new toy were not made, what would all those people do?

And we only buy things for each other as presents now because we don't have the time, skill, or tools to make them ourselves.

Yes, it diminishes our pleasure in giving and receiving when we have so little of ourselves invested in the gift or in the need for it, but that can hardly be laid at the door of materialism.

Parents who substitute affection and time with a vast supply of goods will not become better parents by giving less. If they aren't making their children happy, at least they're making the children of some working man or mother happy.

And every culture has usually created some special occasion or festival during which people seek peace, reconciliation, and give gifts. Giving gifts is an important adjunct of such a feast, and Christmas is no different. It gives a point to the year, a purpose to a month (all the preparations), a chance for good will to prosper a little while, and a moment to reflect on the miracle of life, being, and a loving God who became one of us to lead us home to heaven.

Such thoughts, such prayer is a momentary thing for many. Insisting that everyone be more saintly than they are, more ascetic than they want to be, holier than they know how - is wearisome, and grows tedius with repetition.

Besides, at a certain age you realize that the Christmas festival is for children, and nothing can spoil it for them except bad manners, rude behavior, cruel treatment. The Christ Mass is for all of us, but Christmas is for kids. Materialism doesn't daunt it for them at all.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 2:47 PM |