The Search for Meaning

Podcast Series, Episode 9 | Whose Birthday? Index (all) | Whose Birthday? #17 Index

The Search for Meaning - Beyond a Commercialized World

Christine Sine

Robyn was angry and confused. She had known since childhood that Santa was not real. But she had just discovered that her much beloved roly-poly red robed Santa Claus was a marketing ploy invented in the early 20th century by Coca Cola to encourage consumerism. She was angry because she had been duped by the commercialization of what should be the most meaningful season of the year.  She was also confused because she didn't know how to break the news to her kids that Santa Claus wasn't real without destroying their faith in her honesty.

"I hate Christmas," she told me.  "I eat too much, drink too much and rush from one store to another, afraid that I forgot to buy a gift for someone important.  The fact that we are celebrating the birth of Christ hardly even registers on my screen."

When Christmas is over, how many of us look back on the season with the same sense of betrayal that Robyn experienced? An opportunity to model and teach simplicity and the tenets of our Christian faith to our children has become one of the greatest displays of materialism reflecting the values of the consumer society.

We are all people of habit and routine and need spiritual rituals to provide anchors for our souls.  When our faith does not provide these rituals the secular culture quickly jumps in with its quasi spiritual offerings.  Massage therapy, aromatherapy, a day at the local health spa and our increasingly secularized and materialistic approach to Christmas all tantalize us with the promise of peace and relief from our stressed out lives.  Tragically people of faith are just as likely to be sucked in by these rhythms and ignore the rituals of their faith.

Page updated 11 Sept. 2013

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