Friday, November 28, 2008

Deck the Sales Associate

I just heard this story on NPR about a man being trampled to death at a Wal-Mart in Long Island...

By 4:55, with no police officers in sight, the crowd of more than 2,000 had become a rabble, and could be held back no longer. Fists banged and shoulders pressed on the sliding-glass double doors, which bowed in with the weight of the assault. Six to 10 workers inside tried to push back, but it was hopeless.

Suddenly, witnesses and the police said, the doors shattered, and the shrieking mob surged through in a blind rush for holiday bargains. One worker, Jdimytai Damour, 34, was thrown back onto the black linoleum tiles and trampled in the stampede that streamed over and around him. Others who had stood alongside Mr. Damour trying to hold the doors were also hurled back and run over, witnesses said.


I want to say, "What is the world coming to?", but really...I think it's clear that the world got itself into this abhorrent state awhile ago. "Shop til you drop!" (or til someone else does). This entire season is so off course and the masses/the majority/EVERYONE accepts it, embraces it and partakes. I have to wonder what Christians are thinking as they bust into stores at 4am to get MUST-HAVE deals while maxing out their credit cards all in celebration of the birth of Jesus. Does it occur to anyone that Jesus probably wouldn't be a fan of desperate, angry, consumptive, entitled shoppers?

Clearly not.

Wouldn't make more sense to actually give the gifts Christ really wanted us to give? Like love, generosity, and empathy? I know, go figure. I'm at this point in my life where the more I learn, the more disillusioned I become. What is going on here and why aren't more people REALLY disturbed?! My 8th grade teacher used to have a poster on her podium that said, "What's popular is not always right and what's right is not always popular." I still appreciate that basic sentiment, but it seems that a sentiment is all it is.

The warmth of my grandparents' home on Christmas eve, their small, tasteful tree, the smell of spinach casserole and honey baked ham, after dinner walks with Dad and Uncle Jimmie, and my grandma in her red-checkered apron are the memories of the Christmas season that have the most weight in my heart. Why is it that the most beloved Christmas films and stories end with sentiment that the "real message of Christmas" really is love, generosity, and hope, but our society seems to counteract that message more and more each year? I suppose that's just a well-intentioned sentiment too.

You'd think a story about a man being trampled to death by fat, greedy Americans at a store filled with cheap gifts made by exploited people in third world countries would be cause enough to make most folks question what has gotten into everyone...but if his dying body didn't stop the shoppers, why would the story stop anyone else?

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