Sunday, October 14, 2012

Shopping on Sunday: The American Festival

By Margaret Curtis, PhD

Do you shop on Sunday? This activity once was taboo, but now the place to meet and greet friends proves to be the local grocery or drug store. So, does this behavior demonstrate, as polls seem to indicate, that Americans are less religious in their attitudes than they once were?

Perhaps conclusions depend on the purpose of those trips. Observe closely how neighbors loom over products as if they were treasures. They pull their children along, too, and behave with extraordinary courtesy—at least in Dunkirk, New York. They nod and smile, even when they encounter strangers. They don’t show road rage at the check-out counters. They don’t scream about parking places. They just appear to be doing exactly what they should on this sacred day.

With Thanksgiving approaching, maybe this possibility deserves consideration. We live in America, where no religion police threaten us. We enjoy the right to practice Thanksgiving and Halloween any way we wish. We stock up on the bounty of our country seven days a week, but, on Sunday, we go all out to find and relish those tiny packages which seem Heaven-sent. The perfect squash? Oh, glory be! The hat that looks like a bear’s head? Oh, perfect for that boy! Gifts, gifts galore pour out of our stores, and are we grateful?

We collect the treasures we find waiting, and store them away for the great Thanksgiving coming—and the Great Masquerade, Halloween, and the Great Holiday of a Child’s Birth, Christmas. We prepare and prepare, just like Boy and Girl Scouts. What behavior could be more religious than this: To celebrate this nation’s productivity and success by contributing pennies which sales allow to the good farmers and merchants who keep our country running, and give us reason to be thankful that God put us here—and not somewhere else?  

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