What Have the Wise Men Wrought?
Two thousand years ago, wise men from the East brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the baby Jesus. Christians have been giving gifts...and millions of others have joined in the merriment.
So-called "Black Friday," the big shopping day right after Thanksgiving, was marked by mobs, occasional violence, and rudeness that have nothing to do with the origins of the tradition.
The retailers are apparently happy, overall, because the sales were big and booming. They were record this year. That's great for the economy. But it's so sad to see us becoming such a rude nation. Two hundred years ago, in pre-Victorian England, some activists (such as William Wilberforce) pushed for what they called "the reformation of manners." The modern translation of that would be "the reformation of morals." There is a link between manners and morals.
We've certainly lost both nowadays, it seems. We are truly descending into a new incivility that is shocking sometimes.
Jesus, whose birth is celebrated at Christmas, is the one who said: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And He didn't add: "Oh, and if that doesn't work out---don't forget the pepper spray."
It's strange. Technically, Christmas commemorates the birth of Christ, but in many quarters of our society, He's not invited to His own birthday.
Also on Black Friday 2011, there was a 61-year old man who collapsed from an apparent heart attack in a store in South Charleston, West Virginia. As he lay dying, shoppers went on their way. Reporter Andrew Colegrove of WSAZ notes, "Witnesses tell WSAZ.com some shoppers walked around and even over the man's body." He later died....One of his friends said afterwards, "How could you not notice someone was in trouble? I just don't understand if people didn't help what their reason was, other than greed because of a sale."