The “holiday” feeding frenzy is off to an inauspicious start today. The day began, in Nassau County, New York, with a 34 year-old WalMart employee being trampled to death by a mob of early-morning deal seekers who broke down the doors of the building in an earnest attempt to score the very first discounted gizmos.
Not to be outdone by the east coasters, a pair of men in a California Toys “R” Us store gunned each other down after their female companions entered into fisticuffs (in front of their children). The corporate offices of Toys “R” Us, however, issued a statement saying that “it would be inaccurate to associate the events of today with Black Friday.”
Black Friday? I know I’m a bit out of the loop when it comes to these things, but exactly how and when did this day come to be called Black Friday? It’s bad enough that it’s been known as the beginning of “Christmas Season,” even though Advent Season doesn’t even start for another few days – let alone the real Christmas Season, which starts late in December. Of course, nowadays, nobody with any manners would refer to “Christmas Season” for fear of being labeled a religious intolerant. That’s just as well, because “Black Friday” and the rest of the associated seasonal lunacy (murders aside) has absolutely nothing to do with the Feast of the Nativity of Jesus Christ, which is, ostensibly, where this whole disgrace began.
No doubt, we will soon enough be assaulted by the annual appeals to “keep Christ in Christmas.” I’m not sure that’s exactly the right solution, though. At this point, that sounds to me too much like syncretism. I think the Church needs to find a way to disassociate itself from the annual orgy of materialism, allow the hostile secularists to extirpate all references to Christ from the public occasion, and offer, instead, a very different vision of the season – one rooted in the reflective and preparatory spirituality of Advent.