** Reviewed,  Christian Living,  Miscellaneous

Black (and Blue) Friday

Well, today is the big day. The day that retailers and shoppers alike look forward to all year long. Today is: BLACK FRIDAY!! Tonight as I dressed for work I was watching the news. Among the weather and other misc. stories was a report on the people lined up outside a local toy store in preparation for the big Black Friday deals. This part I can deal with. I do think it is a little crazy to sit outside a store for 12 hours or more just to buy something, but hey, to each his own. That’s not the part that bothers me about Black Friday.

What bothers me about Black Friday is the way we behave on that day. It has been a few years since I went out shopping on this day, but I can still remember what it was like. People pushing and shoving to get to that item that is going to bring them or their child eternal happiness. People sneaking around and taking items out of other people’s buggies when they aren’t looking. I’ve even seen people get into fist fights over a certain item. This is what I hate about Black Friday.

We have turned this day into a shameless display of our affection for STUFF. I have no problem with buying or giving gifts for Christmas, but the way people behave has turn this day into  day of worship to the god of Materialism. Few other things can insight such zeal in people. Imagine if people chose to focus this much energy into something positive. Imagine the good that could be done if millions of people all over the country chose to address homelessness, or hunger, or human trafficking with the passion that they put into Black Friday shopping, even if only once per year.

The way that people behave has totally taken away what I believe the holiday season is all about. Obviously as a Christian I believe that Thanksgiving is about giving thanks to God for the many ways that He provides for our needs. Also, as a Christian, I believe that Christmas is about remembering and celebrating the birth of the one that would save us, Jesus Christ. However, even if you are not a Christian, shouldn’t the holidays be about something more than the endless pursuit of STUFF? What about time spent with the people we love. What about, for a short time, caring more about other people than we do ourselves.

You see, getting that perfect gift for your child is not going to change their life. In fact the excitement they feel on that day will be fleeting at best. My son had a birthday party a couple of weeks ago.  He got a lot of really cool stuff. He was so excited he could hardly contain himself. Despite this he could hardly contain himself as he looked over the different Black Friday adds this week. This is not to say that he does not still enjoy the gifts he got. It is not to say that he does not still appreciate them. But, what it does tell us is that the happiness we receive from stuff is very fleeting.

So, by all means shop. Shop till you drop if you so desire. But, think of how you are behaving. Your life will go on if you don’t get the 150 inch HDTV for $50. Your child’s life will go on if that certain item is not under the tree come Christmas.  Remember that whether you are a Christian or not, the holidays are about more important things that what we buy, what we are given or the gifts we give.

Remember that the holidays are about people.

Matt Norman

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I am a Christian, husband, father, pastor, church planter, nurse, and freelance writer.

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