November 23, 2011- Issue 10 Opinion

Keep Christmas in December

By EVAN HARRELL
News Editor

Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas as much as the next guy, probably even more. Setting up the tree, hanging the lights, wrapping presents: it’s wonderful. I pop in my Mannheim Steamroller or Harry Connick, Jr. Christmas albums or, perhaps this year, Glee Christmas or Michael Bublé and everything is right with the world. However, this tends to happen closer to December 25 than November 25.

Yes, I am one of those people. I cringe a little when I walk into stores at the beginning of November and hear that hokey version of “Jingle Bells” that comes on the two-dollar Christmas compilations they sell at the checkout line. I do a double-take when I pass a house or a business with lights and trees and snowflakes adorning the edifice. Please don’t paint me as a scrooge. On the contrary, I would consider myself a patron for the wonderful  holiday that is Christmas. You see, when we skip right from Halloween to Christmas, completely passing over Thanksgiving, we have an awkwardly long amount of time leading up to the day we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Santa Claus. Now, it isn’t like Christmas is supposed  to be celebrated for 12 days; it’s only one day a year.

Besides all this, Thanksgiving deserves its 15 minutes of fame. It’s the day we celebrate the Native Americans  cans graciously giving us their land. That is why, every Friday after Thanksgiving, we go out to places of sale and pillage them just like our forefathers and mothers did to this country.

Afterwards, we give our neighbors and best friends warm blankets in remembrance of the blankets they gave the American Indians. Back to Christmas. I was sitting in the Caf the other day (eating some of Dr. Joe’s tortellini) while discussing with a friend the possibility of the GeorgeTones and Tiger Tunistas singing together (look for that in the future, by the way), and Christmas music came on. We instantly garnered glares and whispers, and someone even said aloud: ”I hate it when people play Christmas music before Christmas.” You know who you are. These people weren’t wrong. In fact, I would have done the same thing. The moral of the story is: give people dirty looks the next time they play Christmas music at inappropriate times.

Note: Christmas in July is acceptable.

Try on a new (but not necessarily ritzy) pair of shoes this holiday season

By ETHAN SMITH
Opinion Editor

Christmas is imminent. You can feel it all around you, like the calm before the storm. The signs are all around us. I know certain females on campus who have already created their Christmas playlists or updated previous ones. I stay clear from most of hem; I can see a feral frenzy in their dilated eyes that reminds me of the sharks from Finding Nemo right before they feed. Salvation Army buckets have been positioned outside of Walmarts across America.

Thanksgiving hasn’t even happened and there are already Christmas sales on television, and Thanksgiving will not have even been over for 24 hours before Black Friday Sales inevitably lead to fistfights and trampling.

Far too often I feel that Thanksgiving is overlooked, perhaps because of the marketing Christmas receives in the form of cute elves and a morbidly obese bearded man in a fuzzy suit who defies the laws of physics with his flying reindeer, one of whom has a freakishly glowing nose. Thanksgiving, on the other hand, has pilgrims and turkeys, neither of which are traditionally depicted in flashy or sexy manners.

However, despite its flashiness, I strongly encourage any eager beavers who are already slipping into a Christmas coma to pause for just a few days and reflect on the philosophy of Thanksgiving. I am well aware that many of us are told the story of the first Thanksgiving from an early age, and that we are supposed to be grateful for the things we have. Yet when I look around me, I see things that make me think otherwise.

How hard do we think about our blessings and what they mean? When we say Grace, do we ever think beyond the food and safe travels? I attended Chapel this week and Dr. Crouch said something that expressed a recent recurring feeling I have had quite accurately; he said we are all here because of somebody else. I’m not here purely because of my own choices and skills. I was blessed with smart parents who were also blessed with smart parents.

Not only that, I was blessed with smart parents who loved me and wanted me to succeed. They raised me with values that helped keep me out of trouble (usually) and a work ethic that has helped me succeed in many of my pursuits. There are many things we have to be thankful for that we wouldn’t have if it were not for other people. Even if some of us have not grown up in stable homes, we still have had people help us get to where we are today, whether they’re mothers, fathers, grandparents, friends, teachers or mentors.

I’ve been reading some of the works of John Rawls, a political philosopher for a class this semester. He says that we should redistribute our wealth to help even out disparities in our communities. He says we should do this because so many of the positive things we possess are beyond our doing. I didn’t grow up with good parents because I did anything right. I wasn’t born into a family with sufficient income because I did anything special when I was a fetus. I don’t live in a country governed by democracy because I am inherently awesome.

I make this observation because the reverse is true as well. We don’t do anything to be born into favorable circumstances. We certainly don’t do anything to warrant being born into unfortunate circumstances either. Because of God’s Plan, Fate, Chance or whatever readers would like to attribute our circumstances to, we are who we are because of many factors beyond our control or influence.

So why do so many of us seem to forget this? In the midst of the elections this fall, I flipped on the television and heard a candidate comment on his view regarding the economic recession. He said, “… if you don’t have a job, blame yourself…” I hear this a lot from some politicians and political commentators.

They say homeless or unemployed people should just “go out and get jobs,” and “quit being lazy and living off the taxpayers.” This seems to be the view that many people hold towards the less fortunate, those who are homeless or on welfare. Sometimes this apathetic view is formed due to knowledge that there are people who take advantage of charity and welfare systems.

While this is true to an extent, there will always be people who are in trouble, and we should rise to the occasion in order to help them. I feel I can confidently say that if I was living on my own and lost my job or was sick and couldn’t work, I would want someone to help me.

Some readers may recognize the candidate I referred to, but I left him nameless because I don’t want to push this as a Republican or Democrat agenda, but rather a Human agenda. I did nothing to deserve my good fortune, so what right do I have to tell someone who was born into a family with less money or parents who committed crimes, discouraged them and instilled less-than-stellar values that they deserve what they have and that I don’t have to help them?

In short, please open your mind up this season; be slow to judge those who need help. Put yourself in their shoes, because any one of us could just as easily have been in them. If we wouldn’t want to be hungry, go without medicine, or a roof, why should we sit idly while people live lives we ourselves would dread?

So, let’s count our blessings and help those who have less to be thankful for. After all, philosophy aside, it’s what Jesus would do.

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