Friday, December 23, 2011

Burning Woods

Christmas nears. The Fox network continues to predictably defend it and it's traditions while it repeatedly airs commercials that re-write traditional songs with messages and tidings of greed. I even saw one this year which flips and twists the notion that receiving is better than giving. Surprised? Not really. More evidence of this over the top culture, pushing boundaries of commercialism to new heights. Gatsby's green light shines...glistens...blinds.
But this year we have a new phenomena, the Layaway angel. People are coming forward and paying off items that the less fortunate (read less wealthy) are trying to purchase for the big day. I'm so tainted, I'm not sure I even believe these folks are on the square, as the old union organizers used to say. Likewise, the major news outlets and the local happy-talk teams are running stories about Secret Santas and first time food bank users. Where is the forest? Is everyone so focused on the trees that they don't see the glaring forest fire in front of them?
Yes, it's important to help those less fortunate; but ask why do they continue to be less fortunate? How can I help there? Why are there more folks living from month to month, depending on food banks or food stamps, or waiting for big box angels than ever?
Maybe it just comes with what's been called the "Season of Sharing." But does that mean we don't share the rest of the time?
Even those more informed or democratic institutions have joined the holiday chorus. I've noticed that most everybody wants to get a piece of the holiday dollar. Education organizations and publishing houses I support are urging me not to forget their products as Christmas gift-giving ideas this year. Hey, it's tough out there and the holidays represent one last opportunity to get in the black.
I'm thinking about this a good deal these days. The trick, of course, is not to raise the issue as a naysayer. Give from the heart, encourage others to do the same, but also figure out a way they can look for the forest. We nee to get in those woods before we can get out of them.

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