Image courtesy of Tom Curtis/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It is not even Thanksgiving, and I am developing a really negative attitude over the approaching holidays. Everywhere I turn I am bombarded with what I need to do, own, buy or want to make them “perfect.” Today, a video of “K-Mart’s Controversial Show Your Joe Commercial” is circulating on Facebook. I have not seen it on television, and I hope I don’t. I checked out Snopes hoping this was a rumor, but Snopes had nothing to say about such a commercial. I can’t even think of a word to accurately describe this capitalist spin on Christmas. I doubt that God had this outcome in mind when He gifted us with the love and grace embodied in both Christ’s life and death.

Watching this commercial reinforced a book study discussion I participated in last night. We discussed how our obsession with the concept of time can keep us from fully experiencing the present moment. According to the author of the book we are reading, focusing on special holidays, feasts, or celebrations (future or past) robs us of our ability to live now, this moment (Rohr, 2009. The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystic Sees, New York: Crossroad Publishing).  Right now our country is experiencing loss of life and property secondary to tornadoes, financial and health care problems, invasion of privacy issues, and lots of other things which, frankly, make it tempting to day dream about past or future better times. If I let myself escape into that “mind set” then I am not allowing God’s love to flow into, through and  out of me so that it can reach others. If my mind is not immersed in now, I don’t think or act in the now. Therefore, I cannot respond to the hunger, poverty, grief, pain, and sickness that my fellow humans are suffering.  For example, which set of thoughts would bring me closer to sharing God’s love now, today? Would it be thinking of 6 men in boxers shaking their genitals to play “Jingle Bells” with bells attached to their bodies? Or, would it be wondering if I should volunteer or send aid to those in my own or neighboring states who are victims of Sunday’s tornado?

Don’t get me wrong. I am not a saint. Were I younger with more libido on tap I might find a chorus line of men dancing in baggy boxers interesting. To be honest, if a commercial about how to get tons of yarn for next to nothing was playing to the tune of Jingle Bells, I might be interested. Oh, I am growing old—-or, hopefully, wiser. Regardless, focusing on Christmas or any other holiday robs me of today.

My bad attitude, however, is not so much about not living in the moment as it is about using Christ’s birth as an excuse to worship money, greed, and capitalism. Christmas should celebrate Christ’s birth; not capitalism.  I am learning that Christmas can be a frame of mind, an everyday or every moment way of being filled with the spirit of God and God’s love within, around, among, above, and below each and every one of us; a spirit that freely shared makes God’s love and grace even more real for all of us who are connected by being part of God’s creation.

Well, my rant is over. Just putting in words helped me feel better and realize that rather than wasting my energy judging how others spend their moments I should focus instead on what I do with my moments. Please comment and share your thoughts about holidays. May God bless and keep you.