Is there any other place on earth that can take a season that's all about family, love, and redemption and turn it into something that's -- not?
Would the Jesus Christ whose birth this season celebrates look with favor upon the people who walked around and over the shopper who suffered a heart attack when the doors to Target opened? Have shoppers who pepper sprayed and elbowed those people who hands reached for the same toy earned redemption? Do we really want to teach our children that it's all right for stores to drag their employees away from loved ones just so the cash registers will start ringing a few hours earlier?
If I had told my mother that we'd be going out on Thanksgiving night, or midnight, 4 a.m., or 6 a.m. Friday to go shopping, she would have taken my temperature to make sure I wasn't suffering from a brain damaging fever. If I had asked my father to accompany us, he would have looked at me like I was crazy, and proceeded to ever so slowly empty, refill, and light his pipe, before returning to the Reader's Digest Word Power.
Make no mistake, family was very important to my parents, and remains so for me, my sisters and brothers, and their families. Holidays offer opportunities to gather together and have fun with one another while forging bonds with the next generation. We do that by cooking and eating together, playing catch and tag football, sledding and skating and running races, rocking newborns and building train layouts with toddlers.
We wouldn't experience the same togetherness if we were tossing games over heads at the local Gamestop, tackling competing shoppers at the WalMart, and racing for premium parking spaces at the mall.