About this time every year I hear lots of stories about trying to keep up with the Jones, stress about finding a gift for the "difficult" person on the list, and dread over who will and will not have to be tolerated at the annual Christmas bash.
We participate in none of it, so the weird looks, discomfort and name calling from holiday revelers ramps up a few notches.
Their attitudes are a symptom of people conditioned to follow the crowd. Financial risk or ruin and "being left out" are to be avoided at all cost. Doesn't matter if they're complaining about the cost, the rush, the worry, the strain on relationships and the relief they'll feel when it's all behind them.
Today, while shopping for my elderly friend, I ran into five people in our writing group. All were in Meijer' stocking up on candy, fruitcake, cookies, hams, cheese balls, presents, cards, decorations and "last minute ideas." In comparison, my cart held TV dinners, donuts, bananas, dog food and red delicious apples. And even though they've all know I don't participate in Christmas, they couldn't resist asking: was I "tired of being Grinch" or had I "realized I was missing out."
I just shook my head and said, "I'll do as I please, you do likewise."
Like a chorus of the faithful, they felt bad" that I was "in the doldrums!"
No appreciating another person's choice to GIVE to strangers from this crowd. No wonder Jesus wanted the money changers out of the church.
I too will be glad when the holiday frenzy passes.