The day after Thanksgiving offers us a great spiritual opportunity. We are given the chance of subtraction, and not the "addition" encouraged through Black Friday by the retail industry. We can now start switching gears to begin immersing ourselves in the Advent season.
The Advent/Christmas season also offers an opportunity to step outside ourselves. Our loved ones are on our minds when we buy presents and when we plan our gatherings and celebrations. And during this season, there is an effort to recognize the importance of the spirit of Shalom, a sense of well-being and prosperity throughout the Earth that comes with a right relationship with our Creator.
What better way to connect with this spirit of Shalom than through the practice of mindful purchases. Do our purchases in one way or another promote social justice? This could mean buying products from local merchants, which in many ways promotes the sense of community that we seem to have lost.
And it could also mean buying fair-trade products. Last December I posted a list of merchants that offer a wide range of goods that are fairly traded. Click here to see the list.
Here is an excerpt from an Advent reflection the Pax Christi Web site.
"Thankfully we are blessed with a loving Creator who gives us the freedom to meet God doing right. We make choices. Some choices lead us to mistakes: some we learn from, others we don’t. At other times, our choices are life-giving. And we are the owners of these choices, however they turn out."
Read full reflection by Diane Lopez Hughes
While the purchase of fair-trade products is certainly a good thing from a practical standpoint, there is also a strong spiritual connection. Rev. Judy Hoffhine and Ruth Farrell of the Presbyterian Hunger Program (and fellow Bread for the World board member) have created a Bible study entitled Fair Trade: Using our Purchasing Power for Justice and Hope. The 40-page booklet offers six sessions on the principles of Fair Trade, direct connections to scripture, and a reference section on Fair Trade that includes resources and ways to get involved. Here is a Sample Session The study is available via Partners for Just Trade
Happy Fair Friday!