Commercialism: Christmas and Beyond

18 11 2013

Image courtesy of 123rf.com

Two weeks before Halloween, I walk into the local WalMart to purchase some mums. Through the sliding doors and into a time warp.

Five artificial trees decked in lights sparkled to my left. Ahead, rows of wrapping paper, greeting cards and ornaments announced the Christmas season. Uh, what was I looking for again? Suddenly, I’m overtaken by disorientation.

It used to happen on November 1st. Halloween candy and costumes at discounted prices sat beside all the Yuletide trappings. In my mind, even that was too early.

What about Thanksgiving? This is my favorite holiday. This preference has only a little to do with the fact that I love stuffing. And nothing at all to do with college football games (just another form of commercialization, I say).

In American society, every little event is a reason for marketers to put up a promotional display.  Lose a tooth? Here are some envelopes signed by the tooth fairy.

This lambasting from marketers doesn’t just happen inside retail outlets either. Vendor carts at home shows try to sell everything from central vacuum systems to yard maintenance services. In the mall, walking down the expansive thoroughfares reminds me of going to the carnival.

“Care to get your hearing checked?” “Ma’am, one moment and I can show you how to look ten years younger.” (Does he really think I’m going to listen to him after he just called me OLD???)

You’ve been there. You know what I mean. Even your child’s Saturday soccer game is subject to people peddling shirts, snacks and soda. Can’t we just watch our kid without someone trying to extort a dollar?

Commercialization minimizes the significance of events. Maybe you disagree, but it only took one bridal convention to convince me. I didn’t want people hawking their photo services or cake flavors. Weddings are once-in-a-lifetime events and should be treated with respect and awe.

Courtesy of embedded-lab.com

When they replaced “Christ” with an “x” everywhere to make advertising easier, my temperature spiked. Then they told me saying “Merry Christmas” was politically incorrect. Offensive even.

The fact that I’m offended when Santa and snowmen are made into ten-foot-tall yard ornaments, while locating a lighted nativity set is like searching for a needle in the haystack? Whatever. My problem, not theirs.

Once all this hype begins, I tend to stay away from retailers and watch even less television until after January 1st. All these advertisements and extra emphasis on shopping drains the significance of this holiday for me. You know, the religious aspect.

I’m not trying to push my idea about focusing on family and faith during December on anyone else. It sure would be nice if I received the same sort of consideration from those who want to push shopping and Santa and reindeer to the forefront of my mind.

Turkey and stuffing are great, but Thanksgiving is about sitting around the table with people I love and sharing our blessings. My favorite Christmas tradition centers on reading Luke 2 by the light of the Christmas tree on Christmas morning.

I don’t want to think about Black Friday or post-holiday returns. Come January, I don’t want a credit card bill that makes me consider a second mortgage.

What is the sign of commercialism that bugs you the most? Maybe you disagree with me. I’d love to have a conversation about it.

You can find my blog posts on my author website at: http://sharonleehughson.com/blogs/

Beginning in December, all my future posts will only be available at that site. Please click the link and follow my blog from my website. Thanks. 

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Love Makes the World Go ‘Round

16 02 2013

Image credit: flickr.com

With Valentines floating in the stores and hearts abounding, it seemed an apropos time to touch on the essential Christian topic of love.

Jesus loves everyone in the world and he has left us this ministry of love. In fact, if anyone will be born into Christ’s Kingdom, they must see this love. Since Jesus isn’t here in body anymore, those who claim His name must reach the world by loving them with a Christ-like love.

  • We are commanded to love

John 15: 12 – “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” Jesus spoke these words just hours before going to Calvary to prove His love by laying down his life for us. I can’t remember the last time I died for someone, but I’m pretty sure it must be easier to love others while I’m alive.

  • Love shows our true heart

John 13:35 – “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Jesus made it clear that if we want people to know we follow him, we must love other followers of him. Let’s face it, nothing turns people off “church” faster than people who criticize and condemn others. Love is the best testimony we have.

  • Love is more than a feeling

Read the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians if you want a clearer picture of what love really is. “Charity never faileth” Paul writes in verse eight of that chapter. Feelings fail us, but true love never fails. This fact alone is proof that love is more than a feeling.

  • Love involves sacrifice

John 15:13 – “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” This is the example Jesus set before us. I know of very few people who have been asked to die for another person. How many times have I given up my own desires to help another person? This sort of sacrificial giving is a small demonstration of the love Christ modeled for us on Calvary.

This Valentine’s Day show someone you love them. Share the gospel with them. What better gift could there be than the love of God poured directly into their heart?








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