There is nothing like a mass orgy of consumption to turn the stomach. And now that “Black Friday” has made its way into Canada, we’re in for regular bouts of November nausea.
So, to those who prefer a calm stomach to one churned by the useless product of the day, allow me to offer an ancient prescription.
It’s time to bring back the nativity fast.
Our Catholic and Orthodox friends probably need little convincing of the practice—it’s been around for some time after all—but allow me to encourage them to take up the practice with vigour, and to make the modest proposal to my Protestant brothers and sisters that we likewise hold off on the Christmas season sweeties.
The stories of black Friday are now commonplace—almost routine. People get trampled, shot, or assaulted to acquire whatever piece of sloth-indulging electronics they were hoping to acquire. Yawn. Another day on the capitalist bus. And the words from the drivers aren’t reassuring. Says Walmart CEO Bill Simon, “We’re opening a little earlier, because that’s what the industry is heading towards.”
Don’t worry everyone, this year’s sales were “bigger, better, faster, cheaper and safer than ever.” Yes: big, fast, cheap and safe – the motto of an enlightened age.
No doubt you’ll call me a sanctimonious prig, but I’m reminded of a proverb:
If you find honey, eat just enough—
too much of it, and you will vomit.
These days we raise the bees, find the honey, extract it, bolt it down, barf it all back up, return to it year after year, and package it as “sweet and sour.”
Which brings me to another proverb—consider it the Protestant proof-text for the nativity fast:
One who is full loathes honey from the comb,
but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet...
This year, as we wait to remember the beginning of the main event, the event which bent history in ways that no one expected, why not say no to that third piece of yule log?
The Christmas goose, the gifts of St. Nick, will all be so much sweeter on an empty stomach.