Well it finally happened. The retail giants of the United States have taken over our last family holiday. As Thanksgiving was not a lucrative holiday for the retail giants, they have now managed to get us to cut it shorter and shorter in favor of buying Christmas sooner.
They have turned the New Years celebration into buying sprees of home exercise equipment. The focus of Valentine’s Day is now buying huge amounts of flowers and going out to expensive restaurants. Easter, Christian’s most holy celebration, has become ever increasing sizes of Easter baskets full of toys and candy. The Fourth of July requires richer food and hundreds of dollars of fireworks. Halloween is more expensive pre-made costumes with larger bags of candy. And they turned the celebration of the birth of Christ into the most lucrative shopping time of the year.
As a parent I have become extremely frustrated with how the candy companies have me going from Valentine’s candy to Easter candy to summer ice cream and candy to Halloween candy to Christmas candy. I refuse to run their pre-programed, never ending, hamster wheel of more candy, more candy, and more candy. They have convinced us to expose our children to obesity and diabetes in order to make them richer. No, I won’t do it any longer!
Families across America are now giving up even more family time in order to throw their money at the retailers a few hours earlier than last year. Marketers seem to have a hypnotic pull on American families, most of whom complain repeatedly about having to shop. Yet, they are out there, yelling at each other for parking spaces and the latest toy and running over the top of each other, literally, for the newest technology.
Are we so weak minded that we cannot hold onto our own thoughts and values? Or do we agree with the American retail magnets that greed and avarice are more important than love and compassion and time for my family?
I refuse to sacrifice my family on the altar of more stuff! I will not be giving fancy, expensive gifts this year. I will give of myself. I will give time to listen, time to help, and a caring heart.
What do people really need in their lives? Someone to touch their soul with love.
Charles Swindoll publishes a daily devotional through Insight For Living. This was a recent devotional that fits well with my thoughts today:
God’s Major Objective in Your Life
by Charles R. Swindoll
Our world has become a large, impersonal, busy institution.
We are alienated from each other. Although crowded, we are lonely. Pushed together but uninvolved. No longer do most neighbors visit across the backyard fence. The well-manicured front lawn is the modern moat that keeps barbarians at bay. Hoarding and flaunting have replaced sharing and caring. It’s like we are occupying common space but have no common interests, as if we’re on an elevator with rules such as: “No talking, smiling, or eye contact allowed without written consent of the management.”
Painful though it may be for us to admit, we’re losing touch with one another. The motivation to help, to encourage, yes, to serve our fellow human beings is waning. People have even observed crimes in progress but refused to help so as not to be involved! Our foundational values are getting lost in these confusing days. And yet, it is these things that form the essentials of a happy and fulfilled life.
Remember that grand declaration of biblical assurance etched in the rocklike truth of Romans 8? I’m referring to verses 28-29, which read:
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.
Maybe you’ve never before stopped to consider that God is committed to one major objective in the lives of all His people: to conform us to “the image of His Son.”