Thanksgiving is over. We’ve “given thanks,” ate beyond our normal capacity and watched some football or some other distraction. Throughout the day and the weeks leading up to the day of Thanksgiving we have been bombarded with announcements of Black Friday Sales. This year Black Friday actually came on the Thursday of Thanksgiving. Through the magic of marketing, Thanksgiving and Christmas has more blatantly become a merging of Thanksgiving and Christmas – a type of “Thanksmas.”
This is all driven by the need of businesses to make sure that their annual profits reach or exceed what has been budgeted and/or projected. In the controlled and directed chaos and feeding frenzy of the “door buster sales” and early store opening of Black Friday, at what point do we take time to discuss with God whether we are being controlled by something other than Him?
Do we join in with the crowd because we feel pressured and think that we will miss something if we’re not there when the doors open? Have we thought through the feelings of the gift giving season and the possible guilt…. and pride of getting that one special gift that “… I just know that he or she will love!”
Now this is not to say that being a part of the Black Friday throng is right or wrong. This is just to say that if we are to put “Christ in Christmas” or believe that ” Jesus is the Reason for the Season” it might be a good idea to take some time to sit at His feet and hear what He wants you to do and why He wants you to do it.
Taking time to stop and listen takes a little bit of time. But it also takes discipline and humility. We know that if we have our heart set on buying certain items and we get the impression that we should wait or not make those purchases, it can take a toll on us emotionally and/or mentally. If He impresses on us to use the money for something or someone else we really go into a negotiation session.
Understanding that there is a higher power Who we are accountable to can be a strain when what we want to do is not aligned with what God may want us to do. But, once we have that understanding we have to make a decision. That decision, on the surface may not be a right or wrong decision. It may come down to a better or best situation; two good things only one is better than the other. However, if we don’t take the time to be still and listen, we may not know which one is the best situation.
One situation may be expedient and the pressure to make a decision is perceived as immediate. This may be the better situation but not the best. In the busyness of life, the approaching holidays and the end of the year crunch to bring things to favorable conclusions, we may find ourselves with the thought that we are too busy to Stop, Listen, Think, Decide and Act (SLTDA). So we skip the first two elements of this equation and jump right to think, decide and act.
And, here we have the power of Black Friday. With no time to stop and listen we eliminate a time of reflecting on the merits and ramifications of an issue or situation. Black Friday Power gives us the hope of a White Christmas – a Christmas filled with joyous smiles as friends and family open gifts that you wanted to give. There a satisfaction in believing that you were able to pick out the perfect gift at a “substantially” discounted price. Those are great feelings!
The power of the Black Friday excitement is no substitute for the joy, peace and satisfaction that we have knowing that what we purchased or not purchased during the “Store Wars” was well thought through, budgeted for and that there will not be the after Christmas sticker shock. The realization that “I now have to take at least half the year to pay for those gifts…” is not an issue. The realization that what I gave, I gave from the heart is guilt free and has no thought of reciprocation. That’s the after Christmas feeling that will last throughout the year, bringing a smile to your face every time you see the person. This is a lot better than wondering if the person really liked and appreciated the gift. Not to mention if they returned it or re-gifted it.
As we start our holiday season with Black Friday enjoy the time. Take time to reflect and continue to be thankful. It’s a really great thing when the thankfulness of Thanksgiving is able to carry us into Christmas and the New Year! The holiday, gift giving season is upon us in full swing. Embrace it with a sense of the three “Gs” - Grace, Gratitude and Gentleness!
With that being said; Let the fun begin!