Monday, December 11, 2006

Amish at Christmas

At Christmas time, the Amish seem to me to be the ideal Americans, the ideal Christians, and the ideal Planetary Citizens.

America is suffering from the export of jobs, and so are the Amish. Yet, while their challenges are real, so also is their dedication to the great American work ethic and the American dream. From their small farms and workshops, they work for themselves, contribute to our economy, train their children to be effective adults, and build up and care for their own property.

As Christians, they are givers, not takers. They are appreciate of the gift of salvation, and do nothing to overshadow that great gift of God. Their giving is humble, practical and modest. No excesses, no glitter, no indulgence in wants instead of needs here. After the school shooting, we need no further proof of their peaceableness, meekness and forgiveness.

As planetary citizens, the Amish go lightly on this earth. They don't overuse anything. They shun modern social conveniences, so there aren't disposal and pollution problems with mountains of plastic, toys, games, old computers, old TVs. While we buy something plastic and throw it out next season, the Amish buy durable items, such as dishes, that will last for years, not one month. Amish children don't get every plastic toy McDonald's has to offer; they aren't begging for the latest hooker-style bratz doll; the Amish don't follow the trashy fashion trends.

Our country can't take much more unmitigated consumption, and the planet certainly can't handle it. It can't take much more hatred, violence, greed, and ambition either.

If the Amish school girl massacre touched us at all, perhaps we can, for this Christmas at least, honor them by making our holiday celebrations more like our friends, the Amish.

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