Nov 28 2012

Grand Rapids District: Black Friday

Original post at http://www.grdistrictumc.org/2012/11/black-friday/

This past week saw another Black Friday event come and go.  The news gave us the sad tale of shoppers getting into fist fights over $40.00 cell phones, and other sorts of bad behavior.  We shook our heads in disbelief and wondered once again what the world is coming to.  It is very easy to look at Black Friday with its crass consumerism and even violence and decry the event.  This is especially true when we consider that all of this is done at least peripherally as a part of the celebration of Jesus’s birth. 

I get all this.  I am terribly saddened and upset by some of the video we have seen from this day.  But even with all that, I’m here today to stand up for Black Friday!  I am inviting us to consider another side of this day.

I see it through my daughter’s eyes.  My daughter is a wonderfully giving person.  She almost never buys anything for herself.  She prefers to buy things for other people.  And she is one of those people out there in line three hours before the stores are open waiting for the big deals that Black Friday promises.  She doesn’t have a lot of money to spend and the bargains that stores offer on this shopping day really enable her to get more gifts to share with others at Christmas.  And because she and her friends (there are two other friends with whom she shops), divide up their lists and efficiently retrieve their bargains, my daughter is able to gift her kids in ways she would not be able to if she didn’t participate in this ritual.

My daughter wants to give.  She is willing to wait in line in the cold, whatever it takes to see that others are blessed.

I still remember the first line of the book The Purpose Driven Life, “It’s not about you.”  While I took issue with Rick, (Rick Warren the author), at a number of points, that first sentence is a central core principle for the Christian life.  It is a core principle for life in the Church.  And while throughout this fall’s Church Conference season I have seen and experienced churches and individuals living out this principle, moving beyond the walls of the church in significant ways, changing the way they are doing things inside the church in order to make room for new people, I have seen others who don’t seem to get it at all.  I have experienced some places where everything seemed to be about those who are already a part of the church.  I find that very sad.

So today I am giving thanks for Black Friday.  Not so much because retailors are doing well or because some folks got $40.00 cell phones, though I guess those things are alright too; but mostly because it revealed to me once again my daughter’s desire to do whatever it takes to give to others.  May that be my attitude as I serve Christ.  May it be yours as well.


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