Do we really still want to call it Christmas? Thanksgiving is now “Turkey Day” and has almost no relation anymore to the early pilgrims eating with the Indians. A recent proposal by the retail industry is that we move Thanksgiving back a day to Wednesday so shoppers can spend one day longer on the new “Black Weekend” – a shopping bonanza starting on Thursday morning at 6:00 AM and running through 12:00 Midnight on Sunday. Many stores are proposing a “no closing” timeframe. Makes sense. Why sit home and watch football when all those bargains are out there for the taking?
You should be able to go on the Internet and catch a service or Mass anytime on the 24th or 25th of December. As our Catholic priests age and churches deteriorate, our choices seem to indicate that the Mass has become obsolete. In today’s world, however, television Masses could be staggered in between Internet shopping. After all, why open the churches when the only people attending are Creasters that donate almost nothing and use the church as a rest stop between Holiday parties. In fact, we can now name the new Christmas – “Gift Day.” Given our penchant for changing things (e.g., gender, marriage, etc.), let’s just call it what it has become.
We spend months getting ready for the “big event” by using our credit cards to buy gifts that we can’t afford and use money we don’t have. For those parishioners in churches that have a sentimental attachment to the old Christmas, they should open so senior citizens and choirs have something to do. It is expensive to decorate a church with natural trees and wreaths that represent a fire threat and running heating units with boilers that could break down at any time. Ushers are hard to find and the parishioners don’t want to make a commitment to show up at any specific time. With many football games going into overtime and the playoff season approaching, ushering is the last thing that many men want to do.
I know it seems hard to propose changes like this, but times are changing. Actually, Christmas is sort of a temporary break today between our preparations for the actual Holiday Season. Food has to be purchased, gifts ordered or picked up in a real store, alcoholic beverages purchased from the local party store, trees cut down from the local tree farm and decorated with ornaments and lights to make the season bright and merry. Many parishioners have to search for their church envelopes that were sent to them many months ago and pitch the unused envelopes to find the one that says Christmas. Searching through their purses and wallets, they look for dollars and quarters to stuff in the envelope to appear as generous giving members of the church.
So “Gift Day” may soon come as we look for ways to streamline our worshiping to fit within this joyous season. It took some time to adjust to “Turkey Day” and it is sad to see it moved back 24 hours but nothing is more important than ‘Black Friday” and the financial impact to our economy.