Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas spirit headed off by Black Friday

I was appalled by the news that came out of New York on the occassion of Black Friday 2008. Black Friday, as you know is the most prolific shopping day of the year. It is the prime indicator of how retail sales are heading for the year. It is the occassion when the balance sheet takes on a blackish ( bullish ) hue as opposed to a reddish ( bearish ) hue. The headlines and downbeat of all the newscasts and editions was " Will Black Friday save us?" I have always been of the belief that the only thing that is going to save any of us is our faith in the Lord Jesus, whose birth we supposedly hold this Holiday for in the first place.

As you know a WalMart crowd in NYC trampled to death an employee as they charged the gates upon the opening of the store on Black Friday. It is reported that once recognizing the man was down and injured the crowd politely stepped around him in their rush to grab the deals. What a living characterization of what the practice of the Christmas Season has become.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said this in his classic I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. He said "And in despair I bowed my head. There is no peace on earth I said. For hate is strong and mocks the song, of peace on earth good will to men." He penned that somewhere around 1850.

Here we are 158 years later pretty much in the same boat. India threatens Pakistan. Iran calls Israel the Great Satan. The United States is more divided than ever within our own borders. Our greed and stampeding the door of human kindness has cost us our souls. Bail outs abound. Political divide roars in our ears. Here in the Realtor world greed has driven the American dream of home ownership out of existence. Every other commercial you see on TV is for treatment of depression.

Longfellow continues: " Then peeled the bells more loud and deep. God is not dead nor does He sleep. The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth good will to men." He was certainly an optimistic fellow was he not? Since he wrote those words we have had two World Wars, The Korean war, the Vietnam War and now the war on terror. I hope he is right.

I remain optimistic that the right shall prevail. We may not like the format in which it is delivered, but I am confident that right shall prevail. It has to, otherwise what are we bothering to struggle for?

I had a conversation with my son recently. He is a Deputy Sheriff. He says this time of the year is the busiest in his work place. Especially calls for domestic violence seem to ramp up appreciably. I asked him what he thought the reason was. He said it is because the Holidays bring people together to celebrate the season. Those families that are dysfunctional hope to come together and be different people around the dinner table. However, as everyone dips into their 6th round of wine, beer, spirits, the divide that exists between them all the other days of the year becomes pronounced. That is when the fighting begins. Out come the sharp verbal flairs. Then out come the fisticuffs, the knives and, yes, the firearms.

I remember when my son had first become a Deputy my wife and I wanted to see him on Christmas Eve as he worked. I made some of my world famous vegetable soup and we drove south about 25 miles to meet him and share soup with him. He was not able to meet with us as he had to go to a domestic violence call and arrest a lady for stabbing her Father.

That brings me back to NYC and the Black Friday incident. Where have our values gone? Where has common decency flown to? The news just gets worse and worse.

I notice that my neighborhood is lagging far behind in the adornment of Christmas lights this season. Many houses that have previously gleamed with lights of the season are dark. It could be the recession-like depression that we are in. Or perhaps it is just the culmination of a nation that has fought hard to preserve our old fashioned way of life and has failed. We are face to face with what really drives America. What is it? Greed and selfishness ,greed and selfishness and more greed and selfishness. I am struggling hard this year to find some Christmas spirit. Hope you are doing better at it than I am.

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