I’m not an overtly religious person. In fact, I’d probably be considered a wayward Catholic since I put about as much stock in the Roman Party as I do in the Democratic or Republican Parties–and I certainly don’t buy the notion that tradition is a legitimate foundation for moral authority, much less faith. But the pope has a big pulpit, and I have to say I resonate with his recent message about losing Christmas to commercialism.
Last year, I wrote what became a controversial essay for BusinessWeek that sums up my feelings about the world we’re creating for ourselves, and which I’m reposting below as a reminder to myself that I care about this topic. Let’s just say I feel strongly that our culture is squeezing the substance out of life, distilling the things we value into consumable components that can be packaged and sold, and leaving far too many of us with an empty void that we learn to fill with ~stuff~. This isn’t just an issue of faith–it’s an issue of lifestyle and sanity.
I’m not going to stump for the religious value of Christmas–that’s been already been shrinkwrapped and syndicated–but for the spirit of the holiday that no one can co-opt. It’s not about giving, but about giving something of yourself, even if–especially if–it takes some sacrifice. For me this year, it’s about sacrificing my obsession for spending time on a thousand projects to spend a lot of time with my family. It’s a little insane that I can even think about that as a sacrifice, but there I am.
I hope you have a wonderful holiday, one with friends and family and meaning. I’ll see you in two weeks. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with my thoughts about consumerism in the post below. Let me know what you think.