Call it what you will -- Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Super Duper Fragilistic Sunday, or Cyber Monday. It all boils down to a broke, black and blue shopper.
Don't get me wrong; I am all for finding a bargain. But shopping during the holidays has become so frenetic and, in many cases, deadly. Put aside the physical danger, and remember the postmortem effect this has on so many Americans: Depression and the delusion of one's own self-worth being attached to punching another person over a big-screen television.
What sort of an example does this set for future generations, many of which have never experienced real poverty? Unfortunately, most people lack discipline when it comes to dealing with basic disappointments. In other words, everybody gets a trophy -- television or whatever the new shiny object is sparkling in their eyes.
As for trophies, playing sports is no longer about experiencing good, healthy competition. Sadly, its lowest common denominator is simply to attend, and you will win an award. But what's wrong with learning to be a good loser?
One of my most memorable accomplishments is when I did not make the junior high basketball team. The names of the students who failed to make the cut were prominently displayed on the outside gymnasium door for all to see. But the next year, I worked twice as hard and became a starter on the team. I will never forget the agony of defeat, nor will I forget the joy of overcoming defeat.
I am a believer in free market capitalism. I am not, however, a believer in trampling over another person to obtain that. The lesson we should all learn is understanding the difference between a need and a want. The average American has at a minimum in their home three televisions, two video consoles, and a cell phone for every man, woman, and child. And this barely begins to touch how many expensive pairs of sneakers a young person will wear before his or her tenth birthday. Remember this little fact: If you have air conditioning and refrigeration, then you are in the planet’s top five percent in terms of wealth.
Keep in mind the fact that Americans live in the wealthiest nation, but we are also the most wasteful. This perplexing conundrum simultaneously makes us the envy and the most hated by many other nations. Let me remind you what the Holy Scripture says about the heart that beats for earthly treasures:
“Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. If your vision is clear, your whole body will be full of light…”
So remember, beloved -- it is better to give than to receive. Not just during the holidays, but every day.