This post is long overdue, sorry. Unfortunately the period of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is most commonly known to Furman professors as “Crap, I only made it halfway through the syllabus, surely we can cover the rest of this material in two weeks.” To everyone else, this is known as “Hell.” So that’s my excuse folks, take it or leave it. Despite my temporary stress-induced insanity, I have found time to enjoy the holiday season, making Christmas cookies with my lovely Chi-O family, appreciating tacky sweaters and white elephant gift exchanges at the Vista House/ MCF Christmas party, and singing silly holiday songs with the FUtones in our annual Christmas concert. (You can check out the full concert here).
With all of the “holiday spirit” and excitement in the air, it’s hard not to get caught up in the secularization of Christmas. The birth of Jesus Christ, God incarnate, who loved us all so much that He took the most humble human form to show us how to live – the most incredible event this world has ever witnessed, has been buried under piles and piles of useless products (the majority of which were produced in sweatshops where workers are denied the most basic human rights). This holiday has become the greatest example of the primacy of consumerism in the modern world. It’s really disgusting the way we commodify everything (myself included, I totally have a pinterest) – and at what cost? Not only are we hurting ourselves, as Matthew 6:19-21 implies: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” we are also participating in an arrangement of global production that systematically oppresses the weak. (Women and children make up the largest portion of the world’s poor – many of whom work for less than a living wage for the good of the American capitalist machine). “Thus says the Lord: Act with justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor anyone who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the alien, the orphan, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.” (Jeremiah 22:3-4).
Sorry for the intensity – I just finding it astounding how easy it is for people (including myself) to turn a blind eye to the atrocities we have produced, or even to convince themselves that this oppression doesn’t exist. Nevertheless, I really wouldn’t classify myself as a Christ-crazy Christmas Scrooge who discourages everything about Christmas that’s not religious. I absolutely adore this time of year, and I think all people need a reason to celebrate every once in a while. I love drinking peppermint mochas. I love wearing big cozy sweaters. I love singing Christmas carols. I love ice-skating. I love Christmas decorations. I love crafting homemade gifts, or finding that special something that’s sure to make a friend smile. However the thing I appreciate most about this time of year is getting to spend time with my friends and family, and sharing the unconditional love that Christ has given me. The following video has a wonderful positive spin on the issues I’ve discussed. Watch it!
Now that I have spent a good hour sitting at Starbucks and NOT preparing for the two exams I have left… I think I should seriously get to studying. I wish I had more time to relish in the success of completing Sociology Theory with a 50 page dictionary and rather intense final exam, or the relief of finishing the first half of the methods sequence – turning in a 28 page research proposal and IRB…. but instead I should get back to work. So I’ll leave you with some pictures from my fabulous Thanksgiving break in Colorado! Enjoy! :)