The Friday after Thanksgiving is referred to as “Black Friday” by many in the financial industry. This is the day when American shoppers rise early, flock to the stores and unleash a month of buying that is without precedent any other time of the year. It is called “Black Friday” because the financial bottom line for many retailers turns from red (loss) to black (profit). The Christmas Season has become a consumer spectacular that is seemingly crucial to our nation’s economy. Is that why Santa Claus, in many instances, is more revered than Jesus Christ?
Santa Claus’ Gospel is a lie
The Gospel of Santa Claus is a lie that I, like most parents, have helped to perpetuate. We have been aided, co-opted and brainwashed by the masters of imagery on Madison Avenue, Wall Street and Disneyland. Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole and even Luther Vandross have helped to paint images of a White Christmas, red nosed reindeers and happy shoppers gleefully looking for that last minute gift. The gospel according to Santa Claus is about money—big money—and how big corporations can coax that money out of our pockets by turning “wants” into perceived “needs”. I have a couple of questions for you. Of the gifts you received or gave this Christmas, how many were really needed by you or the person you gave them to? What did you give to the proverbial person “who has everything?” If they have everything, why did you even give them a gift?
During the Christmas Season, too many people buy things they don’t need, with money they don’t have, run up debts that they can’t afford and all this for the wrong reasons. The Holiday Season is supposed to be a religious observance, but that fact has been lost in the omnipresent marketing hype. The Christmas Spirit in modern day America is all about selling products! The social and psychological pressure to overspend is at its zenith during this time of the year.
Jesus Christ’s Gospel is the Truth
“Advent is the four weeks preceding Christmas. It is a time of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Each Sunday we light a candle symbolizing the four gifts that Christ brought to us—Love, Hope, Peace and Joy,” states Reverend Paul H. Sadler, Sr., Pastor of Mt. Zion Congregational Church in Cleveland, Ohio. “Santa Claus represents materialism. Material objects, fame, fortune and power are fleeting. We have to invest and believe in the Holy Spirit. Santa Claus can’t take you to Heaven. Jesus Christ is the Truth and the Light.”
As you read this, there is not much we can do about this year’s Holiday Season. We’ve paid our dues to Santa Claus and the big business community for this season. However, let’s think about next year’s holiday season and how we can make it more meaningful in terms of celebrating the true spirit of the Season—the celebration of the Birth of Jesus Christ and the gifts he brought to us. Happy Holidays and Peace be with you and your family.
(Michael G. Shinn, CFP, Registered Representative of and securities and investment advisory services offered through Financial Network Investment Corporation, member SIPC. Visit www.shinnfinancial.com for more information or to send your comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. © Michael G. Shinn 2010.)