By Cesar Cornier, Social Justice Coordinator.
Tis the season of love and gratitude…and Starbucks, credit cards, discounts, half-off, retail, advertising, bargains, marketing, merchandise, brands, debt, credit, endorsements, and so forth! It is so easy for us to get engulfed in the culture that is consumerism, and why not? It feels good to open that gift that you’ve been eagerly hoping for, and how nostalgic it is to see colorfully wrapped gifts under a tree of warmth and childhood bliss. However, we know that our festive traditions often come with sacrifices. According to the National Retail Federation, expected holiday retail sales during November and December are to increase between 3.8 and 4.2 percent, for a total amount
between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion.
Growing up we were not rich, but my parents always did their best to make me have a holiday season worth remembering. The extra shifts at work and the part-time jobs only validated this more. Though I am so grateful and blessed for them putting in that extra effort to purchase the things I so dearly wanted from “Santa,” that is not what I value the most. What brings me true joy was the atmosphere, the feeling of belonging at my grandmother’s house where all of my relatives would gather. Yes, the gifts were thoughtful and well appreciated, but what I wish I could wrap up in a present and open every day is the sound of my relatives laughing, and seeing the smiling faces of those who are not with us anymore. Time is the important gift we have, and to live it in the present moment is truly fulfilling. During this holiday season, I ask that we spend time and love on those we care about, within our family and community.
For the Christmas Eve offering, the Social Justice Council has chosen the recipients to be Interchange Food Pantry, Repairers of the Breach, and Guest House. These three organizations have been actively engaged in helping those less fortunate through shelter and nutrition.