I wouldn’t say Black Friday has taken over. Shopping is the holiday. That’s all people care about–what are you gonna get?” Those were the words of one Black Friday shopper last year.
Since the Christmas that many celebrate in the U.S. has little or no connection with the religious observance of Jesus’ birth, we shouldn’t be surprised by the crass consumerism, violent shopping, and overt greediness that marks the weeks leading up to December 25. And it’s not just what’s been described as the “consumer equivalent of genuflecting.” There’s the crazy, over-committed schedules and excesses of all kinds that mark the way many spend December.
As for me and my house? This coming Sunday we’ll make an Advent wreath and begin four weeks of mindful preparation for Christmas. We’ll do our best to keep the days quiet as we observe the discipline of Advent waiting, lighting candles, saying prayers, preparing for Christmas. And unlike many, we won’t be ending our Christmas celebration on December 25. We’ll just be getting started.
A version of this message appeared in a blog post entitled “When shopping is the holiday,” published November 26, 2012, on the Women of the ELCA blog. It was written by Linda Post Bushkofsky.