I’m old enough to have sadly witnessed decades of increasing commercialization of Thanksgiving, Chanukah, and Christmas in our country. Holiday advertising has started earlier and is more prolific than ever. In recent years, Thanksgiving celebrations are often interrupted by Black Friday shopping, which actually begins on Thanksgiving itself, to be followed by Cyber Monday. Most stores keep longer hours for weeks leading to Christmas.
Furthermore, as much as I enjoy sports, I shake my head at the preponderance of ever-longer games attended and televised on days set aside for prayer, reflection, and family connection.
I’m fine with enjoying special holiday meals and gift exchange. Yet, I’m obviously concerned with what appears to me as a cultural decline of intention to highlight the sacredness of the season’s prominent holidays, and a resulting decreased attention to observing the holiness of these days. Frankly, I believe that our preoccupation with shopping, poring over material items, and being entertained (including via Thanksgiving parades) on the seasonal holy days reflects the cultural values we’ve come to adopt throughout the year. Many of us publicly lament the insidious undermining of our moral fabric and mounting daily stress that pervade our nation.
I implore us, one by one, to restore the intended significance of our major holidays for the sake of our own hearts, health, intimacy, and sense of spirit, let alone for the betterment of our society. May each of us personally consider how we might enhance our:
Contemplation of the meaning or significance of the holidays
Expression of deep gratitude, joy, and spirit on these occasions
Closeness with family and friends on these most special days.
Toward genuine fulfillment,
Your Relationship Coach,
Jim Sharon, EdD is a licensed psychologist and couples' coach who has over four decades of professional experience serving thousands as a counselor, as a life and relationship coach, and as a seminar and retreat facilitator. Dr. Sharon has authored two books and many professional publications, most recently, Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship (with Ruth Sharon, MS), published by SkyLight Paths, 2014. Jim and Ruth have been married since 1970, have raised three adult children, and have two young granddaughters.