Monday, December 23, 2013

Alt Christmas post

Ah, Christmas time, that glorious time of year of over-indulgence, gluttony, greed, materialism, unbridled excess and an overall wanton disregard for the needs of others, especially those less fortunate. But not around here, that kind of stuff only happens in big cities like L.A., Seattle and Bend.

Interestingly, over the last several years I have witnessed a change in the hearts of humanity. While Black Friday still kills at least a few participants each year, I have noticed that many more are now staying home. This should be a welcome observation but what it has meant instead is closeted society, one that does not play well with others, so to speak. I have come to know many folks who are content with simply staying home and staying inside, not venturing out at all, except to maybe do a few things around the house.

What does this mean? That we seem to be losing the ability to interact with each other except in very isolated situations. I know a couple who has 2 kids. This couple has one or two close friends who they see at church and on a rare occasion around town. One of the sets of grandparents lives nearby so they see them a few times a year. The oldest child is involved in a couple of different activities, but oddly the parents don’t attend. The youngest child is a home-body and rarely comes outside to play. This wasn’t always the case but it certainly has been for the last few years. I don’t say all of this to condemn this family, but they are a perfect example of the interaction we are losing because of choices. This little family has not always been like this and it used to be common to see them out and about all the time.

Many a study has been taken that shows how as Americans have spread out across the map, we are losing our ability to interact with each other and are instead becoming more isolated. The trouble with each and every one of these studies is they never address the issue of why people become more insulated and don’t instead choose to reach out. I have yet to meet a family that moved into some distant corner of America, only to discover there wasn’t a single neighbor near them, within say, 5 miles. Instead, I am finding that more and more people (not everyone) move and then become as homogenized as possible and then have the audacity to claim that they are only protecting themselves. I am convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt, that humanity is what YOU make it, not what you hear on AM talk radio.

As we pass another Thanksgiving holiday and approach another Christmas season, we need to do better than simply remember that at the end of November we give “thanks” for everything we have (in abundance) and then look forward to December where we should be “giving” of ourselves and of our abundance to those around us, especially to those in need. However, in order to accomplish any of that, we have to step outside to see what needs to be given. We have to move outside of our comfort zones and choose to see others around us.

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