This time of year always makes me think about consuming and consuming some more. I found myself in our local Wal-Mart yesterday looking for a Transformers box set for my nephew (he is 8 and does not read my blog so it is safe to say what he is getting for Christmas on here!) when I heard myself tell the savvy-motivated staff member that I “needed” the Transformers box set. Although it was foolish to think that the clerk might have had some kind of moral epiphany and rebuked my “need” for what it actually was, I myself, standing there in the Mecca of capitalism, did have a small moment of clarity that I felt like sharing.
The never-ending cycle of do-gooders who remind us we don’t actually 'need' things and instead we just 'want' things are 100% accurate in their statements, but does that sentiment actually get through to us? When you look at the "Black Sunday/Monday/Tuesday" crowds mauling each other for $9 DVDs, you have to take a moment and conclude that perhaps we are indeed just that self-centered and delusional to risk life and limb (and being unkind to our fellow human beings) for something as trivial as a $9 DVD. I like to think, as I am sure some of you also do, that I am above things like that, but am I really? Surely I am not about to jump into a crowd of people to save a few bucks, but I did drive all over town to find my nephew that "special something" to show him that I love him (as if a Transformers box set will actually do that!).
When I reflect on this odd little holiday that many of us in the western world celebrate, I really have to stop and think. What do I "want" and what do I "need"? I want a new "house", but I only "need" shelter. I "want" to go for dinner at a nice restaurant, but I only "need" to eat. It is important for me to keep these distinctions clear. I "need" to believe the holidays are about more than only the things we "want". Thankfully I do know they are about my love for my nephew and the rest of my family and friends. I know that these "needs" are the most crucial and my "wants" will always take a back seat to them. May I keep sentiment firmly in the front of my mind all year long.