Consumerism corrupts original message of Christmas

 

“Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.'” This is the beginning of the Christmas story in Luke 2:10-11.

In our culture, consumerism has replaced traditional Christmas values. (Photo by Kaitie Fox)

The first Christmas celebrated had no material presents—but it had the greatest gift ever given on record. The Savior of the world came to the earth as an infant in a manger. The Savior was the Son of God, Jesus the Messiah.

According to christmaslore.com, gift giving started at the Feast of Kalends when wealthy subjects in the ancient Roman Empire would give gifts to Caesar during winter solstice. St. Nicholas would also give gifts of fruit, chocolate and small toys to the poor children at Christmas time and other times of the year as well.

It is often the Christian belief that the Magi who came to see Jesus after He was born had sparked Christmas presents.

However, the lavish gift giving that is known in the United States today started in the early 1800s when stores started advertising Christmas gifts for the first time. By the 1840s the idea was gaining great popularity. The new idea exploded into the commercialism it is today more and more over the years.

The store world went crazy this year. In October, stores started putting out Christmas decorations and candy to buy a month before Thanksgiving.

With doorbusters starting on Thanksgiving night in some cases, it's clear that stores are attempting to get a jump on Christmas sales this year. (Photo by Kaitie Fox)

Some department stores were playing Christmas music as early as the beginning of November.

When I was a child, Christmas decorations came out in the end of November with Thanksgiving decorations—not in October.

This year, Black Friday almost canceled Thanksgiving. Stores opened at midnight with doorbusters. The media gave us stories of people lining up outside of doors to get the perfect deals and a person getting sprayed with pepper spray.

I went last year to shop at eight in the morning. It was fun to go with friends, but at the same time it was a little stressful. I kept thinking, ‘Will someone attack me when I pick up a shirt?’

I didn’t shop on Black Friday this year but I tried to shop on Cyber Monday for family presents.

It is just as annoying as going to a store. I was going to get my sister a dress, but right before I was going to buy it went out of stock. Apparently the entire cyber world wanted that dress, too.

Each year trying to get gifts can be such a hassle. As I drive through traffic it can take double the time to get to a store.

[pullquote]We get so caught up in the gifts and the decorations that we forget the real message of Christmas.[/pullquote]

I can even get stuck in a parking spot. One person is waiting to get into my spot. Another person is trying to get by, and then a truck decides to turn. After about two minutes that seem like ten, the truck driver realizes I am stuck and moves. Then traffic can move again and I can back out.

Where did the angel’s greeting go to the world around us? Shouldn’t we be following that message’s response? We get so caught up in the gifts and the decorations that we forget the real message of Christmas.

“Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.'” (Luke 2:10-11)

I want to think of this verse this year as I buy a gift or open a gift. Can I show the ultimate gift to someone?

Lisa Heath is a senior staff writer for Aviso AVW.

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