There have been some heated arguments online this week about “Grey Thursday” and being “Part of the Problem.” I wanted to share with you some of my thoughts on Black Friday & Thanksgiving.
The world is careening down a path to increased secularism. We see it in how Christmas is portrayed in the media. When you think about your favorite Christmas Movies, there are very few that actually mention the birth of Jesus Christ. Usually, they are about helping Santa save Christmas, getting along with family, or finding the special toy for your child. Although if Jingle all the Way is your favorite Christmas Movie you have a whole other set of issues besides increased secularism. Luckily there are still Christ-centered Christmas films, (Amazon made a great list) but they are getting fewer and fewer.
I see a similar thing happening with Thanksgiving. Although Thanksgiving has been celebrated in many ways since the Pilgrims, it was Abraham Lincoln who instituted that national holiday as we know it today. During the Civil War when old and young were fighting, and dying, the President chose to set aside time to remember our blessings. In an excerpt of the proclamation he states; “…I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.”
Our President asked us to set aside a day, that as a nation, we could thank God for our blessings, ask forgiveness for our sins, and help those in need or are alone. There are many ways for us to do this. Traditionally though these actions are done as a family. I grew up a bit selfish when it came to family holidays, I didn’t like strangers there. I thought it was such an odd thing for me thing on Saved by the Bell for Zack to choose to spend Thanksgiving feeding inner-city kids, then Jenna von Oy showed up and I understood a little better.
Now our family has an open door policy on Holidays and it has made them so much better for us. Like Kelly says, “I thought the only way to celebrate Thanksgiving was with your family, it doesn’t matter who you’re with or what you’re eating. You should be Thankful for what we have. Our health, our friendship, and our love.” Yes, I’m a child of the 90’s.
When it comes to Black Friday I really don’t have a lot of inherently negative feelings about it. My wife and I have a had a lot of fun getting up early, grabbing hot chocolate, and getting in line. But when it comes to camping in tents, mad rushes through the doors, and overall rudeness toward our fellowman; it has gone too far. Our last Black Friday experience my wife had people literally pushing her out of the way as she carried our baby so they could get some awesome deals on fabric. It can be a fun thing, but it also bring out the worst in people.
Some of this frenzy is whipped by the retailers as they offer incredible Door Busters in limited quantities to get people to show up early to engage in competition with those around them. They want the customers to come to their stores first and hopefully spend so much they won’t want or need to go anywhere else. I have seen a trend slowly develop where retailers begin to open earlier and earlier to become the place to be. 6am, 5am, Midnight, now Toys R Us is opening at 5pm on Thanksgiving day! Who knows what we will see next year?
What I see is the loss of the meaning of Thanksgiving. Families are divided because they want the latest deal on an LCD TV or because almost all major retailers are all hands on deck those days. Satan knows that his most powerful tool in destroying our happiness is the designation of the Family. He has spent thousands of years perfecting his plan and he is very good at what he does.
So go out on Black Friday! Have a great and safe time and be kind to those around you. But let Thanksgiving be about being with those you love and giving thanks to our “Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” But if the Turkey is in the oven and yams are all prepared, feel free to shop these online deals within the comfort of your own home.
Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy or Ebates. I shopped Ebates last year and got 8% back on a Kitchen-Aid Mixer after an already smokin’ deal on Kohls.com. Well, I’m off to make my world famous mashed potatoes!