Some large concerns opened at midnight following Thanksgiving Day. Some waited until a few hours before daylight. The results were televised on local and national news, as shoppers stampeded past store personnel to lay claim to their coveted purchase. As usual, there are people fighting over the last available of a particular item. As usual, someone gets hurts.
The day after Thanksgiving used to be the day an East Texas town kicked off the Christmas season. It began with a parade through the middle of town. The bands would march and play. Citizens would line the streets and hold little ones up so they could see. At the end of the parade, Santa would be in his motor vehicle pulled sleigh, throwing candy out to the kids, who would follow as long as they could, grabbing as much of the candy as possible. Afterward, people would disperse in the downtown area, and casual shopping for Christmas began.
That has all been replaced by a day when Americans worship the material goods which distract from the true meaning of Christmas. It is the day we celebrate the birthday of Jesus. Whether it is the actual day of his birth is immaterial, in my personal view. Remembering the story of his birth is always a good thing.
Jesus celebrated not taking, but giving. Recall his story about the widow's charity, giving away a small amount of money, but a large sum of money to her. He recognized that to give is better than to receive, and that the greater sacrifice one makes in charity, the greater the charity.
I suspect Jesus would treat Black Friday like he treated those who changed money in the temple. He would rebuke their ways as not something to be associated with his name. Material things meant nothing to him. He was not opposed to celebrating human events. His first miracle occurred at a wedding. He was opposed to worshiping material things and warned against it. "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
As we transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas, we should lash down our actions so that they are more closely tied to the good things those two days represent. Christmas should be a time of giving, not of getting. We should take the most joy in the giving we do to others, and that giving need not be something purchased. It can be of oneself. It can be a song written, a poem, a homemade blanket, pot pad, or shawl. It can be a tin of cookies or brownies. It can be a gift of time or of work. It can be raking leaves for someone whose yards needs it.
Of course, children should enjoy the receiving of gifts, but they should also learn the joy of giving.
© 2012, Jim “Pappy” Moore,
All Rights Reserved.
Jim “Pappy” Moore is a native son of East Texas who still makes the piney woods his home. firstname.lastname@example.org