|Bob Weete, columnist|
Well, Christmas is finally here, and I bet it has been an exhausting trial - again. In fact, it seems that each year the real feeling that ought to be the focus of the time is almost eradicated. And we have succumbed to the massive ad campaigns to buy, buy, buy. And they tell you "Happy Holidays" after each purchase. Doesn't that just make you tingle all over?
I tingle more because, if I am to be Politically Correct, I must buy, buy, buy, in honor of Santa Claus. As my bank account dwindles away, the profit margin of the stores climbs higher and higher. And it's not really the spirit of the season -the birth of the Baby Jesus - but for money.
And just before Christmas, all the big red signs go up. "50-60 percent off", "Clearance", and everybody who didn't totally waste themselves, risking serious injury, pushing, fighting, cussing during the Black Friday special frenzy or even the Black Monday gorging, to help the flow of even more cash, go at it.
I don't want to be a Grinch here, but look at what we've all done - me, included. We have probably over-spent, trying to impress the receivers of the gifts, which, in some cases, are hardly noticed. Unless you got them specifically what they lusted after and coveted. We don't want our kids to be disappointed. They will be crushed.
In the real America, children knew what the family situation was, and they were, naturally, disappointed. I remember once, I, like many kids, wanted a red bike. Well, during the War, red ones were not that plentiful. I did get, though, a slim-wheeled grey monster of a bike. But other kids didn't even get a bike. I had to re-adjust my thinking, and learn to be grateful for what I got, and I rode that bike until the wheels fell off.
Kids actually are pretty resilient, in truth. If they go through life expecting and demanding, everything that "the other kids" have, they will become insatiable, demanding demons who are driven by greed, who are not taught that being "equal" does not make you "like" anyone else, it does not make you "better"; in fact, it makes you less equal because you spend your Joyfulness on feeling sorry for yourself, maybe mad at your parents and the whole world because "all the other kids" got that new, bright gadget that the stores have deliberately made you think you were less important because you did get rewarded with that toy that will eventually break and to cast aside, or those very expensive shoes will wear out, just like the other shoes that are not as "cool".
I'll tell you something. Ask yourself "What Would Jesus Do?" Would he cry and have a fit, because he wasn't like other kids, you know. Would he have inadvertedly blamed his parents and hurt them because they wanted so badly to give him "cool" stuff? I don't think so. Besides, they didn't even have Christmas in his day.
Dream. All people must have dreams to reach out for. Even adults. You would be surprised how much you can accomplish toward those dreams, if you do not expect someone else to just hand it out to you. Self-reliance is a great thing. America got where it was because people dreamed dreams, and then actively pursued them, in a right way. And they found that those "things" you once thought you would just "die" if you didn't have were only life-threatening because you gave up reaching for yourself.
I know that kids don't want to be "lectured" to, but that is a mandatory experience you truly need, sometimes, because you lose your own personal identity. The funny thing is that as you keep doing things because "all the kids" are doing it, or because "everybody has a cool cell phone", you do realize that you are cloning yourself to be them don't you? Out the window your self-identity goes. Think about that.
This Christmas season is over. Start now, to talk with your parents and see the situation from their perspective. Theirs is different from yours. Don't let master salesmen interfere with you and your life. The bottom line is they want your money. I don't say they are "evil" but that is the nature of their work. But there is no law or edict that says you have to give in to that neat ploy they design to lure you in.
Do you really need that to live your life, or do you just want it? That kind of relates to coveting, doesn't it, and that is something God warns us about, and for good reason. It actually makes us something less than we are, and that is a shame. Do the right thing and eventually those guys will be looking up to you and coveting your lifestyle.
Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays to those who are "offended" by the Merry Christmas American tradition. See you next year. May God bless you.