Today is Black Friday, which from a modern and certainly secular point of view marks the beginning of the “holiday” season. It is a day of sales and deals where Americans are gleefully conned into “saving” money by spending more of it. And while camping out for door-buster events have decreased since last year, it is still a time when we will be inundated with a mercantilist-messianic message about waiting in anticipation for that one special gift. For anyone, who has lost any semblance of celebrating, let alone having any attachment to, Christmas as it has traditionally been understood, what’s not to love? Well, actually, all things considered, quite a bit.

Another Year of the New Normal

We are now entering another holiday season still haunted by the overbearing presence of the many wraiths of Wuhan like Mother Inferior Dr. Rochelle Walensky or Candle-Pope Faucci, who have for months now been giving us their imprimatur on how we should (read be allowed to) celebrate the upcoming holidays. Last year, given the shifting nature of their pronouncements, it was possible for anyone who bothered to do a modicum of research on the available data to weigh the risks against the rewards, and make their own holiday plans accordingly. This year, while it’s fair to say that far less people are taking these people seriously and many Americans are once again taking their own counsel on how to celebrate the holidays, there are still two looming issues that have been exacerbated since last year.

The first is of course the increased pressure to get the jab, to keep up with your booster shots, and to go back to wearing a mask. Whether it’s Biden using OSHA to enforce his unconstitutional vaccine mandate (which granted is currently being held up in the courts), schools boards and the teacher unions pushing for masking and vaccinations for school aged children, and the overall social pressure of those who have themselves become wraiths. These are the people who have become faint shadows of the free and moral agents they used before they were cowed into compliance, out of fear of the WuFlu or simply not wanting to rock the boat. These are the ones who have said that they cannot afford to lose their job or social standing, or because they have children to take care of, so they go with the flow and wait in anticipation to be told that their lives can go back to normal.

The other issue is the hobbling of our economy by the current administration. It was sad enough to see how many small independent businesses that were forced to close down last year never did reopen, while Amazon and other online mega-merchants and the big box stores remained free to do business. Now however, because of the complete undoing of Trump’s economic policies and the doubling down on what were supposed to be temporary measures, those merchants that are still open for business are facing shortages in both workers and products. The complex supply chain, that most of us took for granted, from the ships out in the Pacific, to the dock workers, to the truck drivers, and finally to the stockers in the stores, have all been hampered. Add in the rise in gas prices because of the killing of the Keystone pipeline and the shortage of workers caused by Biden’s threatened vaccine mandates, and this year’s Black Friday has for many become a rather dour affair.

It is in the midst of all of these issues, the administration’s spokespeople in the legacy media have chided us for our ingratitude. Political commentator Bill Kristol pompously pointed out that “people should realize there was no Thanksgiving last year given the COVID pandemic before they complain about inflation causing soaring food prices this year.” Meanwhile Michelleline Maynard over at the Washington Post reminded us “Don’t rant about short-staffed stores and supply chain woes. Try to lower expectations.”  This is where we can fully see the disconnect between the elites who have hearts that are “two sizes too small” and the rest of us in Whoville, USA. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Lowering Our Expectations, but for Something Greater

As Americans we cherish our freedoms, but being free demands responsibility, and responsibility demands the discipline to stay vigilant in guarding our rights and remaining free. Living as we do in a well-provisioned modern nation, there has always been a danger of mistaking our comfort for freedom and security. Thus, when we started enduring shortages, the higher prices, and the constant gaslighting from the Brandoncrats about how inflation is a “good sign” for our economy, it can feel like we are losing our control over our lives. But we are not, we are still free to choose how we live our lives and make the most of whatever diminished circumstances we find ourselves in.

With that in mind, when we are told by our betters that we should “lower our expectations” I actually wholeheartedly agree, but we should do it on our own terms. By this I’m not saying that we should drop off the grid and live in some parodied or straw-man version of Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option. What it does mean though, is that at some point we have to stop complaining about how much damage this administration is causing us and our family, and be responsible and disciplined enough to do something about it. For instance, many of the hardships we endured over that last year were because of how intertwined we have allowed our lives to become in an elaborate bureaucratic Big Machine- Big government, Big media, Big tech, Big business and Big education. Black Friday is as good a day as any to lower what we expect out of the Big Machine and to reflect upon how much of our freedoms we have relinquished to that machine in order to let our lives run on autopilot.

So when it comes to the upcoming holidays, if the high prices and shortages are posing a problem, then perhaps it’s time to blaze a new or different path. If you’re having a hard time getting or paying for food items, skip chain stores as much as you can and search out local growers and farmers? If you can’t locally, there are plenty of independently owned farms across the country that can ship food to you as well. The same can be said if you can’t find the gifts you want on stores shelves, try buying from private sellers or independent shops online or in-person. Try places like Etsy or other craft sites like Aftrcra which only sells items made by hand and in America or Goimagine that also only allows handmade items made in the America but also you can support various charities by supporting various artists. Seriously, whatever happened to getting gifts that took time, effort, and the ability to focus one’s attention like books, models, kits, puzzles, or games?

Coming Out of the Big Machine for Something Greater

Meanwhile, at the same time, start having that other talk with you kids about the banality of the consumerist mindset and guiding them towards giving and receiving gifts that have less bling but which are more attuned to the personality of the ones they love. Not a cheap worldly love that has been commodified and commercialize, but the love of God and neighbor. And if your kids have a hard time getting that, then try explaining again, and if that doesn’t work, then pray about it, and then try again. For rest assured, the economic situation will get worse before it gets any better, so it would behoove all of use to start moving away from the Big Machine, the sooner the better.

Because in the end, that machine make demands of your soul, or as Christian artist Josh Garrells has sung, “Oh great mammon of form and function, careless consumerist consumption, dangerous dysfunction, described as expensive taste...I'm a lost son I refuse to give my love to anyone, fight for the truth or help the weaker ones, because I love my Babylon.” Mammon and Babylon are all part of the Big Machine (not to mention Molech), and no matter what it costs us, we must get ourselves disentangled from the machine or as Garrells sums up, “All you slaves, be set free, come on out child and come on home to me. We will dance, we will rejoice, if you can hear me then follow my voice.”

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