You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

December 20, 2008


Categories: Family

I’ve been watching too much T.V. lately, which is made sadder given the season.  It’s Christmas time, and boy does the T.V. let us know.  They have amped up ‘goods’ and the commercials for them since September!  Three months before the season even begins!  I am Catholic, grew up this way.  We always start celebrating Christmas with Advent, which begins right after Thanksgiving.  Usually the first weekend in December.  It began November 30th.  For three weeks, we prepare for the coming of Christ, readying ourselves with penance and ritual for the Holy Day of Christmas.  The day Jesus was born, a celebration of the New Covenant and a New Life in Christ.  Christmas isn’t about things, it’s about being a kinder, gentler person, someone with sound morals and ethics, in an attempt to be “Christ like.”

So, what does that have to do with the 10th commandment?  Everything.  We celebrate a season that is based on varying traditions, pagan, Christian, Jewish, Islam.  I can only speak to the Christian side of things, and not an authority at that.  But, some semblance of gift giving is a part of many of these traditions, has it ever been as over blown as it is today?  We see commercials for toys, cars, iPhones, all goading us into coveting something that currently does not belong to us.  And, this season, I wonder, isn’t this coveting of things that don’t belong to us a little like coveting our ‘neighbors things’ which we are told not to do according to this commandment.

I find it more ironic given our current state of economics, when on a household level being happy with what we have is even more important.  But, businesses, rightly being concerned with their bottom line, are pushing this commercial coveting even further.

Here, in Portland, and as weather reports show, across the nation too, our town is shut down.  Portland doesn’t have a climate that is used to or overly prepared for snow.  And, given the wet nature of the place, snow often means a lot of ice.  In other places, county road commissions can’t do what they’d normally do due to budget constraints.  It’s like Mother Nature’s way (or God, or the Great Spirit) of saying, SLOW DOWN PEOPLE!  Ignore the commercials you are watching about coveting your neighbors things and have a snow day with the kids.

Maybe this year we can give company instead of things on Christmas Day, wouldn’t that be a change and maybe a way to appreciate what we have – good food, friends, and family.


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