Jesus and the Mall
Black Friday, Christmas, Shopping, Baby in a manger... which season is it??? I sat here in the early morning silence and pondered these words. I wondered if the article I was writing would be considered too "religion" oriented. I thought about the world and the violence and crime and wars that are a part of our every day life. I stopped for a moment, stepped outside and just looked to the sky. How far away have we stepped from what the season really means?
When walking into shopping malls, I am greeted with smiles and "Happy Holiday." Few dare say "Merry Christmas" because they might offend me or one of the 10,000 shoppers that have burst through the doors of most every store, hoping to find the best sales for the holiday. Push became shove and shove became yell and yell then became shove, yell hiss or be trampled. No one said "excuse me" or "sorry" and never were the words "No, go ahead of me, you have less items than me" uttered. It is a free-for-all, survival of the fittest, "like I care if I offended you by pushing" time of the year.
I thought about the greeter, so sure Not to say "merry Christmas" for fear of losing his/her job because they offended one of these shoppers. The same shopper's that made a wall out of themselves to assure that No one got in front of them. The very group that sent nasty glares and snapped at other "fellow" shoppers if they even looked like they might be reaching for the same item. THAT is the people that the greeter was in danger of losing their job for offending?!?!?!?!?! Really?!?!? It was and is an almost ridiculous fear that should never have been.
Looking at the crowd, from the outside in, I wondered to myself again. Did they know that the stars were shining outside? Had they seen any bright stars that just for a second, made them think of the star that shined above a Stable many, many forevers ago? The beacons going across the sky, huge lights telling the shoppers there was another sale waiting for them, drew them like June bugs to a porch light. My thought... if K-mart or Wal-mart were to call out over their speakers, in the middle of the Black Friday madness, "Blue-light special going on in apparels... Ever-lasting life with Jesus, only 5 minutes left, shoppers", would they push and shove and yell and scream and "Offend" so they didn't miss the sale? "Jesus in aisle three. Baby in a manger, wrapped only in swaddling cloth in aisle 5." Yes, I wonder, too.
The truth is, the reason for the season is lost somewhere in the midst of a crowd of people, intent on getting that 50% discount. Three Wise Men, led by a star, a beacon, went down into Bethlehem, bearing gifts for the new born baby. A baby that would one day grow up and become our Saviour. Sadly, I am sure that if those announcements were broadcast over the speakers, accompanied by "Anddddd, you have three minutes left to get your items to the front for the 50% off tags", I am afraid "aisle 3 and aisle 5" would simply have to wait.
We live in a fast paced, non stop, gotta stay in the front of the pack or get trampled world. We fight an economy that is stressed, to say it kindly, and a world that is all about survival. When I walk in to Wally-world, please, do not be afraid to say "merry Christmas" to me. No one wants or can afford to lose their jobs and I understand this completely, but when do We, as a people, take a stand and say, it's o.k.? How long will it be before we realize that with "Christ" in Christmas, we might not have to worry about Black Friday offenses simply because, we wouldn't have anything to spend. Did any of you notice Jesus while you were running wild from store to store? Did you see him watching over you, bringing you home safe to your families? HE was right there in "Aisle Everywhere."