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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Christmas present

Will Christmas present and future differ from Christmas past? We hear conflicting voices these days. Alan Greenspan, chief of the Federal Reserve Board, issued his "call to arms" on fulfilling patriotic duty by shopping. But other voices urge us to avoid consumer excesses of Christmas past. What's a shopper to do?

Students in Harry Domicone's business classes at California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, discussed this. "The race to unbridled hedonism had already been slowing down [before Sept. 11]," he says. "The additional facet now is that this will be a more reflective holiday period. People will ask what things really matter." Domicone has noticed more people saying, "I love you" and "You're important to me" these days, but "showing that love doesn't correlate to the amount built up on our credit cards."

Another CLU professor, A. Joseph Everson, says, "America teaches children to consume. But Christmas is about the birth of the suffering Messiah. What are the implications of that birth in the world? As we ponder the birth of the Child, we realize all children are precious: Afghan children, U.S. children, Israeli children, all children. We should promote that which promotes peace on earth, good will to all."

Those who wish a simpler or more meaningful Christmas may find ideas from Alternatives for Simple Living (www.SimpleLiving.org; 800-821-6153), Heifer International (www.heifer.org; 800-422-0755) or the ELCA World Hunger Appeal (www.elca.org/hunger/; 800-638-3522, Ext. 2764, for donations or a catalog).


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September issue

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