Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

December 9, 2011

Christmas season pushes people's faith and good will

Princeton Times

PRINCETON — It’s not very often that I feel the need to quote the Bible. I’m not religious, so I don’t really have the need to justify a belief with a passage. But there are still some things in the Bible that people would do well to heed.

Take the 10th of the Ten Commandments, the one about not coveting things that belong to one’s neighbor. It applies to the Christmas season, greatly.

For example, if I don’t go to the store on Black Friday, my kids may be the only ones on the block without a particular device or toy. They will, as will I, become  jealous that our neighbors were able to afford to spend hundreds of dollars. Also, I will secretly wish to acquire those new possessions that my neighbor has.

Since I want or covet those items, this puts me in violation of the 10th Commandment. With that being said, now I’m desperate to get those things that cost too much money, so I go to the Black Friday sales and battle thousands of other people trying to get those things. If I don’t get them, then I have to turn to either credit or immoral acts like robbery to get those things that I want.

This illustrates why heeding the 10th Commandment is so important because people shouldn’t be so driven to out-buy or out-stuff or even out-gift someone else on Christmas or at any other time.

Let me tell you a story to illustrate that point: one of my friends from high school always liked having better stuff — like a new car, the latest phones, and great clothes that came with outrageous price tags.

When he got to college, he started to work and very quickly realized that he could use his student loans to fashion a great lifestyle with trips to expensive New York hotels and foreign lands. He thought he had to do these things to be cool.

He wanted to make people jealous of him, and it got him into some ever more murky and immoral circumstances. Had he heeded the Tenth, perhaps he would have realized that life is not about what you have or what clothes you wear.

Its about being a good person and doing the best that you can in life. Like I said before, I’m not religious, but we need to take this advice, because too many people in this country and around the world are more worried about impressions and superficial things like degrees and pieces of paper.

We would do a lot better to focus on the simple things like taking care of our families, making sure our kids don’t grow up and get pregnant in high school, or end up on drugs robbing friends and family to support their habit.

Until we do this, I am convinced that America will continue to decline, and fall and this is coming from someone who is terrified of church. Imagine what the religious people who are truly devoted to their beliefs think.

Matt Christian is a Princeton Times reporter. Contact him at