Thankfulness in a World Gone Mad

Toi is back home.  She arrived safe and sound.  She actually got up and went to work this morning.  I hope she can stay awake after the time change and jet lag.  Having her home provides a certain level of peace and serenity.  Or, at least it will until our first disagreement. 🙂

My serentity was somewhat circumvented when I opened up an email this morning. sent me their daily deal.  It says, “BLACK FRIDAY Starts Early This Year! At 3PM PST 11/25/09, come see our biggest deals ever.”

Now, I like NewEgg, but whether or not you or I like them isn’t the point.  Since I opted in for promotional emails, spam is not the point either.

It seems that in a society that is ready to party and make money at all costs, putting up those yard blow-ups of snowmen and nutcrackers before Halloween, finding an aisle of Christmas decorations on one side and Halloween w/ a token section for Thanksgiving decorations on the other – in September, that has no reservations about marketing Christmas to you in July, now has to stretch out one day into 3 to try to convince you to part with your dwindling supply of green.

I suppose if I made a prediction I’d get labeled a “prophet” (and a false one at that).  So, how about a wager instead?  I’ll wager … oh, let’s say a cubic inch of living room air (insert facetious smiley here, whatever that might look like) that within the decade, if we are around that much longer, Thanksgiving will be another Labor Day.  It’s one of those holidays you get off but spend it going shopping.  It’s practically that now, anyhow.

The only difference is that now stores make you line up for midnight so “Black Friday” shopping can begin.  Instead of spending time with family and friends, instead of spending time giving thanks for their blessings, they are lined up ready to buy something.  Chances are that somewhere, someone will get hurt in the stampede of mass consumerism again.

Usually, recessions are a time to trim the fat.  They are a time to get back to our roots.  Somehow, I think people who can afford to are just carrying on like they always have.  I still see people eating out as though nothing has changed.  Granted, people are spending less, but only because many of them have to.  They are still seeking to please #1.

When you read the story of Sodom’s destruction, there are shocking things in that story.  However, it boils down to a society gone mad.  The entire city were willing to seek their own pleasure, no matter who got hurt in the process.  Even Lot’s willingness to pawn off his daughters is proof of the idea that people were commodities to be traded.  We can applaud his willingness to protect his guests but still recoil at how he went about it.  The even more depraved of the city devalued human life even more.

Rome fell from moral rot because the average citizen was seeking pleasure for him or herself to the exclusion of all else.  They were obsessed with entertainment.  Do we really think we invented materialism?  The Romans turned it into an art form!  The once feared Roman army became more and more reluctant to fight, even as the US has lost its appetite for armed conflict of any length or duration (and, I might add, its appetite to truly win a war).

So, here I am, in a world gone mad.  Unlike Sodom and Rome, I don’t even have to leave my living room any more to see it.  It seems more and more that the world barges in.  It started with radios and TVs.  Now, emails, cellphones, text messaging, all barge in at unexpected times.  There actually have been times when I just set the Blackberry aside and walk away to do something else.  It’s difficult to concentrate when people call, text, etc.

So, you can well believe that I’m not going shopping on Thanksgiving.  I’m not going to line up at the store waiting for midnight to roll over.  Instead, I’m going to use the time as it was meant: with friends and family giving thanks to God for our blessings.

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