Tuesday, December 16, 2008

capitalism and Jesus

Capitalism and commercialization are funny ideologues aren’t they? We want companies that are successful that we also like so we can continue to buy from them regardless of the service they provide. We support these places of business based on our ideals but largely based on need and the ability to afford whatever it is that the business has to offer.

So based on this and based on our clear understanding of what capitalism truly is (more on that later), why all the upheaval with naming anything “Christmas” related as “holiday” related? This has become a huge issue in the past few years and is reaching a point where businesses are going to go through some real financial hardships for making the decision to go one way or the other.

If you are a Christian bookstore there is no argument here as to what you call this time of year, but if you are a major name retailer and you are trying to appeal to all of humanity in an attempt to capitalize on all sales, you are probably going to use the newer and more politically correct term of “holiday” instead of Christmas.

Funny thing here, if you walk in to a large retailer who uses the term holiday instead of Christmas, you are likely to find something really scary; the same products that are over at the store that uses the term Christmas instead of holiday. If that came across as sarcastic then I achieved my point. When you pony up the millions it takes to buy one of these large retailers then you can decide what you call your sale.

Now if your favorite retailer does the unthinkable and advertises their “holiday sale” and then they start selling Ouija boards and how-to kits for prostitution, maybe it’s time to really boycott them. If you are shopping for those items you are probably not real worried about what they call their sale.

The other day I was bombarded with emails relating to Costco’s decision not to have the word Christmas in any of their advertising. Before I write this next section, I have to ask a basic question that deserves an honest answer from everyone so deeply offended by the so called lack of the word Christmas from businesses during this time of year; at what point did you gain the right to corner capitalism in regards to Christmas? Your being offended is either a sign of ignorance or a complete failure to understand what this season is really all about.

Regarding this email that I received, when I got it I was shocked by the amount of people who were claiming they were going to boycott Costco and just not shop there anymore…ooof. Such thoughts make my head spin but I stopped the rotations long enough to write one of these people back. This is what I had to say…

“I certainly agree with you in regards to the offensive and the sometimes derisive nature of retailers and their blatant disregard for a very traditional celebration that has been going on for over 2000 years. However, here is an ad that I received via email and I see that 2 of the 3 greeting cards listed below are Christmas specific cards....so much for nothing Christmas related in any of their advertising.”

“With that noted, I certainly would question Costco's motive behind their decision, but I would hardly condemn it nor boycott them until I knew for a fact why they chose to use the term holiday instead of Christmas. If you read Costco's mission statement, they are not a Christian based company but they obviously care about their employees and the communities in which they serve. They are a very philanthropic company and are well known for their charity. “

“Most importantly, Costco is a for profit company that is trying to appeal to a very large audience of customers. And while I certainly agree that they should honor the very traditional holiday that Christmas is (and advertise items as Christmas gifts and not as holiday gifts), we need to remember what Christmas is REALLY about and that no matter how hard you look, you won't find it at Costco.”

I really don’t want to carry on about this for too much longer; I simply want to make an important point. What so many egg shell skinned individuals seem to lose sight of is what is in their very hearts and not what is found on the shelves of their local bobble shop. When a very public institution makes decisions that further anaesthetize certain peoples deeply held beliefs, you have a recipe for disaster and so public institutions typically cave in to pressure for fear of lost revenues.

As of yesterday, Costco announced that they are putting the words Merry Christmas back into all of their stores and their subsequent adverts. I suppose we should say a great big thank you to Costco because maybe they started selling jumbo sized miracles there.

I know this will rattle some and for those I have to ask why. Why do we put so much stock in what someone else is doing to bolster our own private faith? Why does it mean so much for a store to say Merry Christmas on their cakes when we are more than capable of spreading the news on our own? Why can’t you stop trying to inflict your own personal will on the rest of the world and let God inflict His will on your life? Why do you fight Him?

I pray for the leadership of stores like Costco because I know the reason they changed their policy this winter and it wasn’t because someone suddenly developed a conscience. The sad truth is that we live in a capitalist society and the owners recognized a very large section of the population that they were not being properly sensitive to and recognized the need to change in order to capitalize on those profits for the next two weeks.

So go on and shop happily in your local Costco and buy that Merry Christmas cake. Please don’t forget to pick up your bulk size baby Jesus while you’re there though, I would hate to see Him go to waste.

my life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.