Like most Westerners, I am both engaged in and horrified by the commercialization of life. I keep asking, Why are marketers and advertisers so very, very much like a pack of hungry wolves, always on the prowl for the weak? Why in the world would they be spending so much money, for example, to encourage people to do Christmas shopping on Thanksgiving Day? It is truly an abomination and I would be deeply ashamed to be one of those people committed to ruining both Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Why do they do it? Of course I know that the simple answer is, Money. And, from a strictly pragmatic perspective, commercializing our holidays makes money and therefore is seen as a good thing. The moral and spiritual cost, however, is enormous and makes the monetary gain seem pitiful and trivial.
Nonetheless, it will continue so long as it works. And there’s the real problem. Advertising and marketing work, even some of the most ridiculous examples. It’s like the market for drugs. We expend huge sums of money trying to stem the flow of drugs from countries like Columbia when the real problem is that there is such a large hunger for illegal, foolish, and destructive drugs in America.
So long as we keep buying, somebody is going to be selling. O how I wish I and all of us could learn the lesson St. Paul shared with his friends in the town of Philippi: “I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
People who are grounded in the love of God, who find their home in the heart of Jesus Christ, have no need to succumb to the temptations of the marketers and advertisers. We know the secret of being content — It is Jesus himself.