By Lea Wojciechowski Ross, Blogger for Dotten Collision ~ December 19, 2016
Today is December 19… 6 days till Christmas. It’s coming up, and there’s still so much to do… a thought that comes along with the commercialization and the obligatory gift-giving of Christmas. We traditionally give each other Christmas gifts to remind ourselves of the gifts given to Jesus by the Wise Men. But has our society taken this tradition a few steps too far?
The day after Thanksgiving a few years ago, my mom and I went shopping at the mall. I think this was the first time I’d gone shopping on the day after Thanksgiving, and honestly I didn't even connect that it was Black Friday. Though I enjoy going shopping once in a while, I have never placed a great emphasis on it. I don't pay attention to the best times and places to shop, so I did not anticipate the hordes of people packed into Somerset Mall. I'm sure some people were there, like my mom and I were, for a monthly or bi-monthly shopping spree to buy a few exciting new items while spending time with a family member or close friend. But the crowds reminded me of the many people who over-emphasize holiday-season shopping – and of the businesses that promote the commercialization of Christmas.
Now, shopping in and of itself is not a bad thing. It can be a fun activity, a time to indulge a little while supporting the economy. But when shopping becomes the major focus of the Christmas season, it is too much. Prioritizing is essential. People must center their lives on what is really important, like family, friends, and their own sense of virtue. Shopping comes further down the list of priorities. But today’s social norms and commercial ventures have made the buying and getting of gifts such an integral part of Christmas.
Society is becoming more and more materialistic, pushing the notion that those who have more and better stuff will be happy and popular. The pressures of society and the business world tell us that we have to get people gifts for Christmas; it is an expectation. Christmas is becoming increasingly focused on giving and getting the best stuff. And ironically, we usually get stuff that we don't even want or need!
I once heard on the radio that the week before and the week after Christmas determine the success of the season. Why is the “success” of Christmas measured in this way? The spirit of Christmas does not lie in the business world. Christmas is a success when people give of themselves in selfless love and remember the true meaning of the holiday, not when they over-shop and stress out finding gifts that they feel obligated to give to others.
The presence of loved ones should always be more important that the presents we get from them. Relationships are so much more meaningful than material goods. Don’t fall for the sales pitch. Don’t buy gifts just because you “need” something to give. Buy gifts because the thought comes from your heart, and the gift reflects the love you have for the person. And keep the true gift of Christmas – Jesus Himself, born of Mary to be the Savior of the world – always in your heart. That’s a sign given from God Himself.
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will name him Emmanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).
Instead of spending this last week of Christmas scrambling to search for, buy, and wrap however many gifts you still need to get for people, slow down so that, even in the midst of the gifts galore and festivities that are sure to be part of your Christmas, you can rest in the true Christmas spirit of thoughtfulness, peace, hope, love, and joy.
Merry Christmas from all of us at Dotten Collision!
Enjoy a musical video rendition of the Christmas story here!