Being the old man that I am, when I think of Christmas, I get a visual of Bing Crosby singing “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas”.
Remember the ‘white’ Christmases? I do.
They were good. They were warm. They were about people – loving – giving and appreciating people. They were when the first snowfall was a thing of joy and happiness. When people sang songs to one another on the street corners, in the stores and in their homes. When the giver meant more than the gift.
I watched the news this weekend and all I heard about was something called ‘black Friday’. What’s a ‘ black’ Friday? And where did Thanksgiving go? In early September, I seen lots of candy and costumes in the stores for a celebration of the darkside – Halloween. By mid-September, this was backed up by decorations and sales for Christmas. Did I miss something? Halloween still wasn’t here – and where did Thanksgiving go?
When Halloween finally receded into history (on November 1st – didn’t take long), then it was all about something called ‘black Friday’. Seems like Thanksgiving had moved from Thursday to Friday and had taken on a color – and from the results on the news broadcast – a not so very nice color. Pictures of mobs pushing, shoving and wrestling with one another over ‘things’. Fights. Children getting hit by adults. Shoppers getting pepper sprayed by other shoppers or police trying to control the mobs. People dropping dead in the store and shoppers stepping on and over them. All for a piece of plastic or an electronic circuit board. Where did Thanksgiving go?
I heard little about Thanksgiving. When I did, it was about eating – parades and football. Lots of the ‘giving’ and ‘taking’ part – little of the ‘Thanks’ part. Talk around Thanksgiving tables centered around the ‘game plan’ for this thing called ‘black’ Friday. Many even totally erased any symbolise of Thanksgiving and bypassed it completely by pitching tents and camping out for the entire day in a line at their chosen ‘black’ Friday staging area.
Well, now this ‘black’ Friday has come and gone. But has it? Everytime the TV is turned on, they’re taking about ‘black’ Friday sales – on Saturday – Sunday – Monday – and onward right up to Christmas. In fact, I seen a commercial talking about ‘post-Christmas’ sale.
It appears the color of Christmas has changed. ’Black’ Friday is no longer a day – but is now the official kick off of ‘black’ December. It seems to me, what used to be a happy time of Thanks and Joy has merged together into a dark time of greed, anger, resentfulness, rudeness, stress and unhappiness. No one sings on the corners or to their neighbors, but the airways are saturated with the commercial songs for days on end, without let up until they have no meaning and we’re only happy when they’ve stopped. Christmas has evolved into gifts; the biggest, the best, the coveted, the ‘what will so and so get me so that I can get something equal for so and so? Trees and lights and yards that compete one against another. And again I ask – where did Thanksgiving go?
I wonder what God thinks about all this. I wonder if this is what He had in mind. I’m not trying to say I know – I don’t. But I wonder all the same.
No matter what God thinks – I don’t think it’s what most people think it should be. I think everyone wants to have a Merry and happy Christmas – and that’s why there’s so many nostalgic and sentimental Christmas movies and stories flooding the markets and airways. Some do have that and that is good. But most, dream about having it and then merge into the chaotic streams jamming the roads and stores of ‘black’ December. I know, many will say ‘Christmas and Thanksgiving’ are in the heart and I’m being wrong for judging others. Yes, I agree – Christmas and Thanksgiving are in the hearts, and what’s in the hearts is reflected outward. And yes, I’m judging, but I think we each need to judge what is being reflected outward – don’t you?
“I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” is no longer just a song – but is a cry going up from the earth – from a world that dreams it but doesn’t know how to find it. I think it would be nice to close all the stores on ‘black’ Friday and see if we can have a ‘white’ Christmas again.
How we miss Bing.