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T’S VERY EASY TO GET CAUGHT UP IN THE HOLIDAY FESTIVITIES saturating North America this month. Christmas ads permeate television, radio, and news-papers. You can’t even open your mailbox without finding sales fliers and coupons.
 
In December something strange happens to many families—it’s called a spending frenzy. Parents camp out at shopping malls, seeking the best deals on Christmas trees, ornaments, decorations, toys, and other gifts for family members and coworkers.
 
Amid all the Christmas sales, the office parties, family reunions, and merriment, too many of us are oblivious of those who are struggling during the holiday season.
 
This year an unusually large number of people are suffering in the United States. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment had climbed to 6.5 percent at the end of October. That’s the highest rate since 1994.
 
Compounding these numbers are the growing home foreclosures throughout the past year. Realtytrac.com reports that more than 2.3 million foreclosure filings were issued in the first nine months of 2008, an increase of 48 percent over the same period in 2007. That’s one foreclosure for every 55 households.
 
With banks and investment firms going under and unemployment climbing, today’s troubled economy is wreaking havoc on humanitarian agencies. Even churches are feeling the pinch.
 
As you put your Christmas plans together, and make your gift list, ask yourself these questions: Is there a person on my gift list outside of my family, friends, and coworkers? Can I make time to volunteer at a homeless shelter? Is there a disadvantaged family that I can fix a basket for?
 
In answering these questions, you’ll find out what Christmas is all about.
 
____________
Carlos Medley is online editor of the Adventist Review.






 
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