Monday, November 21, 2011

Would You Rather Have Toys?

Is dying for your sins not good enough?!
Would you rather have toys instead of the chance to go to Heaven?!
Is that what it's all about? Toys?!!
Battle Pope #11
by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Cory Walker

The shopping season has begun! Or is Black Friday the official start of the shopping season? If it is, then too bad, because it feels like people went into Christmas shopping overdrive the day after Halloween. But this week, for sure, people are going shopping crazy. It's all about the newest toys, electronics, and gadgets and how good of a deal we can buy them for.
Tell me, where does Jesus enter into this?

Ranting about the commercialization of Christmas has been done before, so I'm not going to get into it that much, aside from throwing up a few panels from Robert Kirkman's (of The Walking Dead fame) early comic series Battle Pope. Issue 11 makes some commentary about the commercialization of the holiday, but does it hilariously and irreverently. The context of this quote has Jesus overhearing nearly a page worth of dialogue between two young boys gleefully listing off an absurd amount of toys that they want for Christmas. And as you can see, Jesus flips out on them.
You may argue that a violent outburst from Christ is out of character, but the sentiment is hard to ignore. Was dying for our sins not enough? Would we rather have toys than Heaven? Salvation is pretty neat, I guess, sure. But a new iPad? Oooo, now that would make Christmas awesome!

I'm not going to spout cliches about how we need to remember the "reason for the season." Such messages lose their impact when the people who say them still join the throngs of people lined up outside Best Buy Thanksgiving night so they can get a TV on the cheap (That, and because the reason is the tilt of the Earth's axis).

Does observing and complaining about the commercialization of Christmas ever actually affect our behavior? It's not even Thanksgiving yet and I already feel the pressure to find the perfect present for numerous people out there. As well as the pressure to throw out gift ideas for people to get me. All the while I'm writing this post about how we place way too much emphasis on shopping and presents during Christmas and the month leading up to Christmas. Does that make me a hypocrite? Well, yeah, of course it does. But it also shows just how deep the shopping attitude has seeped into the holiday.

Would it still be Christmas without presents? Think about it. Honestly. If I woke up December 25th and there was nothing under the tree to open, would there be anything to celebrate? How do we define Christmas anymore? Shopping and presents or Christ's Mass?
Heh, when was the last time anyone actually went to church on Christmas day? Oh, but it's a day to spend time with your family. Yeah, that is true. But isn't it also kind of odd to have a religious holiday where adherents are encouraged not to engage in formal religious ceremonies or observances?

Instead we're at home. Opening our new toys.

And maybe. Just maybe. We'll pay some lip service to the birth of baby Jesus. But probably not.

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