It’s kinda funny how working in retail can heighten your theological sensitivity.
It’s very peculiar to me (especially within the context of working all day on Black Friday!) how Black Friday can both reek of sickening, shallow commercialism and yet usher in the Christmas season with its manifold joys and seeming transformations of conduct at the same time. You see the former in the ravening crowds of product-hungry consumers clobbering one another over the last Barbie Unicorn Princess*, but you also see the latter in the families you’ve never seen before suddenly shopping and laughing together, and in the warmth of affection you receive unexpectedly from strangers, or overhearing employees wanting to get home to be with their families. I’m accustomed to co-workers wanting to get out of work, but usually for far sketchier things than that! We have constantly, all around us, displays of human depravity allowed to take course as well as of God’s restraining power in common grace as human beings give evidence of the condition of their hearts.
Megacorporations want you to buy, buy, buy! because, let’s face it, we’re good at it. We’re coveting machines, not to mention the fact that there’s dollars, dollars, dollars to be made off of us greed factories- and so a season comes to be defined by commodity after commodity and purchase after purchase. But to indulge in one of my too-easily-entered-into cynical streaks would be to ignore the many, many glimmers of decency and compassion and tenderheartedness still present at times in our fallen world. So I endeavor instead to bask in the genuinely heartwarming instances of kindness and selflessness and soak in the atmosphere of love and goodwill, but I examine myself in every other instance and ruminate on how those same qualities and attitudes so easily beset me, and I have to admit how I’m no different from even the stingiest, most obnoxious, irate customer that could crash land in the lightbulb aisle** and equally in desperate need of grace. Let us each remember what we were redeemed from and by what means we were (as well as its price), and let us recognize the power and the beauty of God’s grace active throughout the world.
*Sorry- I don’t know what this year’s Tickle Me Elmo or Teletubby is***.
**And he did. Today! He was looking for replacement bulbs for a Weber Bug Zapper. This just in- we’ve never carried one from Weber! After finding a generic replacement bulb from another company in the Lawn and Garden department, he proceeded to have a bird over the fact that it was from a different manufacturer and was a different size than his. Dude- I told you that straight outta the gate! Recounting the entire episode would probably fry too many of your brain cells to really justify posting it.
***’Cause I’m all about Transformers every year!