Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Horrible, Stinking, Rotting, Disgusting, Juxtaposition

Yesterday, a man was trampled by a crowd at a Wal Mart store in New York. And, when others tried to rescue him, THEY were trampled as well. In addition, four other people were injured, including a woman who was eight months pregnant.

When notified that the store would be closing, the customers became irate.

Tis the Season. This is why I have disliked Christmas for years - at least the commercialized, secular version we've come to know and love (or in my case hate) in America.

I cannot even articulate how disgusting and revolting this all is. I'm sure that a lot of other Americans are just as disgusted as I am. I'm sure how a lot will be written, or spoken of on television on how we've lost "the true meaning of Christmas".

All of it will be true.

This is certainly not the first time that things like this have happened in the pursuit of the ideal Christmas gifts. I remember a few years back, when grown men and women were fighting in the aisles over Cabbage Patch Dolls.

Of course, Jesus (Remember that guy? That is what the holiday is supposedly about.) always taught that the possession of things will not make us happy (from Matthew 6:19-21), and that these gifts that were so important to get today, will be unimportant tomorrow:

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

We continue to pursue those "things" though. But, the reality is, is that they haven't made us any happier. They've just brought mountains of debt, which now has had a hand in bringing the larger economy to a grinding halt.

Several of our fellow Americans are currently hungry or in need, and in the days, weeks and months to follow, several more will be swallowed up in the downward spiral of the economy. During this Christmas season when we eat a lot, drink a lot, and shop and spend money we can't afford to spend, are we thinking at all about "the least of these" (See Matthew 25:31-46) that Jesus taught us to care for?

The most disgusting thing is that for a man's life, this is what the shoppers were getting in exchange:

"Items on sale at the Valley Stream Wal-Mart included a Samsung 50-inch Plasma HDTV for $798, a Bissel Compact Upright Vacuum for $28, a Samsung 10.2 megapixel digital camera for $69 and DVDs such as "The Incredible Hulk" for $9."

Think about it. For a television, a vacuum, a camera and a DVD, a man is now DEAD.

That is all certainly a cruel juxtaposition when you take a look at the prophecy of the coming of the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), who would ultimately give his life for us:

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Wow. That is sobering.