Each year, from Black Friday until Christmas Day, I find myself irritable and basically fuming! On television, in stores, and on the radio the business culture in which we live relentlessly, unrestrainedly and aggressively preaches its Gospel of Materialism: “Must have! Be the first! Act now!” The season reeks of values that are not only not mine but which I also find morally reprehensible! And then I read this… a woman at a Dolce & Gabbana event called “Alta Moda” (basically an exceedingly high-priced fashion show) said about buying couture clothes, “I always thought that couture was something that you wear once in your lifetime and then you put it very far back in your closet. But then I realized that, in a moment in your life where you have a lot of everything already… jewelry, beautiful bags, a nice house… then you start getting in the mood to buy more exclusive clothes.”
I find this beyond obscene! The dictionary defines avarice as, “An excessive and insatiable desire for riches.” Avarice is the value that modern-day business culture peddles to us and stokes within us, and when indulged in this value… like an unnoticed computer virus… infects our inner life by convincing us that we “need” more and more and more. But… do we need everything that we want? What do we “need”… really? We need food, clothing, shelter, access to medicine, and an income sufficient for purchasing these things. But there are realities just as essential to the human heart which cannot be purchased but which must be cultivated… such as reverence, respect, and cooperation for the greater good. Without cultivation of these values we are no more than two-footed animals… no matter how many “things” we may possess, no matter how many couture dresses are crammed into our closet! This is what the business world’s approach blinds us to. But we don’t have to buy-in to moral blindness.
Instead of the season leading up to Christmas being focused on “getting”, it would be more spiritually beneficial for us to have its focus be that of “giving”. The homeless do not need couture, they just need decent clothing, sufficient food and access to shelter; to what extent could you give these this season? The heart of someone struggling with the isolation and grief of loss needs a connection to at least one other heart; could you give that this season? It is amazing how, if we change our focus, we can suddenly see what we had been blind to! Perhaps if we concentrated on giving, rather than getting, our heart could discover that it “needs” to give itself away much more than getting the latest cell-phone, personal drone or super-sonic juicer.