The Materialism of the Holiday Season

It drives me crazy, all the materialism that goes on this time of year.  On Thanksgiving evening we drove by one of the big stores out here and saw a long line of people waiting out in the cold to save a place their place in line.  There were even tents out there.  It was nuts.  I thought, Why aren’t you home with your families?  It’s just stuff.  We are accumulating more and more stuff.

It’s sad.  I believe that people are trying to fill a void in their lives by purchasing material items.  It gives them pleasure for a short while and then they are left feeling empty again.  And then it’s on to the next ‘new’ thing.  And they’re hoping that perhaps this too will feel the emptiness inside themselves.

My husband and I did a two-hour bell ringing for the Salvation Army this past weekend.  It was rewarding emotionally and spiritually, seeing these people give.  And to me it does not matter how much you give, but as long as it is giving from the heart.  That’s what counts.  Where’s your heart?  Is it in accumulating more stuff or is it in helping alleviate the suffering of others? 

Especially during this time of year when so many more people freely open the wallet to help others in need.  This time though there are a lot more people in need because of the lousy economy.  People losing jobs; losing homes.  How difficult and painful it must be for a parent at Christmas to hear their child beg for a present and know that it is either that gift or something to eat. 

I guess my point is that we can all do something to help make a difference.  Life is difficult and coming up on the holidays doesn’t make it any easier, especially for those who are struggling financially on a daily basis.  No wonder the holidays are depressing for so many of us.  You fret about purchasing just the right gift.  About throwing the party.  About those credit card bills coming in in January.  Enough to give a person a full-blown anxiety attack!  So this year, don’t worry about buying stuff just to fill the emptiness of your soul, give.  Give to the food pantry, give to the homeless and women’s shelters.  Give from the heart.  And remember, never give up.


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