by James Collins
“O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.”
1 Chronicles 16:34
Years ago, my wife, Amanda, talked me into going shopping with her. Shopping with Amanda is dangerous and stressful enough, but, we went shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving. We went shopping on Black Friday.
The name “Black Friday” sounds awful. It brings to mind being blackmailed, the black plague, and the black death. It sounds bad.
Black Friday has always puzzled me. Why is it that on Black Friday Americans are willing to kill over materialistic items just one day after celebrating what they are already thankful for?
I have heard that the term “Black Friday” refers to the pattern of pedestrian and vehicle traffic that hits large cities. However, that is not true. Retailers coined the term to describe the day of the year when their shops go from being in the red to going into profit or into the black.
Black Friday has become the largest day of shopping both on the internet and in retail stores. Last year on Black Friday, Americans spent an average of $938.58 per shopper, and Americans spent $655.8 billion overall.
Anyway, years ago, before our children were born, Amanda talked me into going shopping with her on Black Friday. And I went shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving for the first and last time in my life.
At first, I thought it would be fun. I thought it might become a family tradition. I thought we might do a little shopping. Then we would hang out and have breakfast. I thought it would be a nice way to spend time with my wife, but I was wrong.
The day started out okay. We got up early before dawn. We had coffee. Then we went to Walmart at 5 in the morning. I have never seen anything like what I saw that morning. Three-hundred people lined up waiting for Walmart to open. I can’t get three hundred people to get up that early and come see a new believer get baptized. Man! I can’t even get thirty people to get up that early and come see a new believer get baptized. To tell the truth, I can’t even get three people to get up that early and come see a new believer get baptized.
When they opened the doors, I was almost trampled by a wild pack of shoppers. Inside the store wasn’t any better. I made the mistake of standing in front of a door-buster sign. People pushed me out of the way to get to a video game that was on sale.
They wheeled out a blue flashing light. Grown men and women ran from all over the store to the blue light to get a Tickle Me Elmo toy.
Two women almost got in a fistfight. They were both going after the last coat on a 50% off rack. All over the store people were running, pushing, shoving, fighting, and cussing. I’m telling you, those people were crazy.
The point is: We have lost our way. On that Black Friday, I realized America has become a nation which has slipped away from worshipping God to a nation that worships material things. One day after giving thanks to God for all their blessings, Americans fight over TVs and toasters. On the day that kicks off the Christmas season, Americans act anything but Christ-like.
As we celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday this week, let us pause and give thanks to almighty God for all His blessings. Let us reflect on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, as we decorate for Christmas. Let us spend quality time with family and friends. It is okay to go shopping, but don’t let shopping come between you and your relationship with God.
Besides, I have discovered that Black Friday equals Broke Saturday.
James Collins is pastor, columnist, and author. You can write to him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.