Dec 8, 2017
Each year, Christmas gives the biggest economic boost to our economy. To celebrate the day, over eighty-six percent of Americans purchase gifts for family members and friends. Holiday sales exceed one trillion dollars. However, the big winners in this frantic holiday spending spree are our young people. On average, most children receive anywhere from three to eight gifts and sometimes even many more. We are a society preoccupied with youth.
Entertainment, fashions, and fast food industries cater to the taste of the young. Commercials capitalize on looking young to sell their products. Our culture projects the illusion that life ends before forty. With such great emphasis on youthfulness, it makes aging undesirable and something to be disguised.
In the past half-century, thanks to the progress of medicine, lifespans have increased. The average life expectancy is seventy-eight years old. In the next twenty-five years, the elderly population will increase by nearly eighty percent.
As the traditional extended family vanishes, the elderly among us are increasingly seen as a burden and not a blessing. "In the West, scientists present the current century as the aging century: children are diminishing, the elderly are increasing. This imbalance challenges us, indeed, it is a great challenge for contemporary society. Yet a culture of profit insists on casting off the old like a weight" (Pope Francis, General Audience, March 4, 2015).