The title is pretty self explanatory, but it might need to be expanded on a bit. Yesterday, my brother and I went to see a film and on our way back home we stopped for petrol at the local supermarket. Turning into the car park we could see some commotion coming from the main entrance, with about 30 people hanging around the doors trolleys in arms. It was too good an opportunity to miss.
We parked the car in plenty of space and made our way to the crowds of people. Now there was a solid 70 people crowding around a set of doors that were not going to be big enough to hold them. We asked a few people what was going on and they said the same thing as us – they had no idea what was going on, but they saw people crowding around and they couldn’t resist. We couldn’t have been there more than 10 minutes, but in that time more than another 100 people grabbed trolleys, queued or warmed up in their cars.
At 00:01 the shutters came up and the doors open and people shoved and pushed their way in to the store. At this point, we both approached the security guard and asked him what bargains and deals were out to entice people to get to the store so early? He said nothing. Everything was exactly the same price. I think my jaw literally hit the floor. There was more than a score of people, in the freezing cold, to get into a supermarket, with no more incentive than getting to exactly the same goods six hours earlier than everyone else. And then it hit me.
Is this what we have turned the holidays into? Getting into everywhere first, trying to look for bargains and meeting our own selfish needs? But that isn’t what the holidays are about, especially not Christmas. Sure it is exhilarating to be in those queues, trying to find what you want, beating every other person to the punch, but in the season of giving, how can we be satisfied with just taking? I am not here to be Scrooge…by all means spend money on your loved ones, show them your love in any way that you can, even if it is only this one day every year.
But the most important thing to remember is not just the fun, but to be grateful that you can celebrate the holidays with all of those people around you (and the other ones) and rejoice in being together with your health, wealth and luxury. Because today, or tomorrow rather, was the day that a solitary boy was born in the most auspicious circumstances, who would remind us that a life given to the service of others is the greatest life lived of all.
So raise your glasses, to Jesus, to Christmas and to the world as we make it through another day and another year. God bless us all, every one – and a Merry Christmas to you all.