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Sunday, November 30, 2008
I can tell the Christmas season is here. It started pre Halloween and hit its first zenith the day after Thanksgiving. I say first zenith because thatís the day known as Black Friday. The day sales are suppose to soar and help merchants get rid of their over priced goods at cost and below. The day people take off from work and productivity to go to the malls for all the bargains. Or better yet, the day everyone slips out of their sleeping bags in the parking lots to be among the earliest in the stores at their ludicrous four a.m openings! I canít get my daughter to come see me after work, or for lunch, but she was probably at Wal-Martís at four a.m. Well to be fair, she works there, but thatís beside the point.
Yes, Black Friday, the day everyone feels the love of Jesus as they hunt for gifts for friends and family, at sub reasonable prices. Sure, they love the recipients of their purchases, but not enough to pay full price for anything, or, my gosh, to wait till the crowds go home. They donít want to be the ones saying they missed out on a bargain. Black Friday is the day consumers get all stressed out battling the crowds, worn out from wrestling things from strangers grasps, no matter the age or health status, from two year olds, to centurions with supplemental oxygen and walkers.
Itís also the day humanityís true nature emerges. In New York the an eager mob pushed its way into Wal Marts and trampled a temporary employee to death. To death. Did they care? Oh, yes. They were outraged that such a thing could have happened. Why? Because it caused the store to close for several hours. What a rip off. Surely things could have been handled while everyone browsed at a hundred miles per hour. No remorse was felt for the victim. No one stepped forward and assumed responsibility. We have to rely on video cameras to pick out the guilty. How would that be possible? It was a pack of animals that entered the store to hunt prey. The victim was under their feet. How can police identify which feet trampled the poor guy. Shoe DNA? Even if they could get good videoed face pictures Iím sure all expressions were distorted with the glow of shopping for Jesusí birthday to be recognizable.
An eight month pregnant woman was also injured. She shouldnít have been allowed out on Black Friday! As an employee or shopper. There should be laws. No one with a fetus or embryo can leave the house on Black Friday due to extreme dangers posed by Christmas shoppers. Where are those friends you can count on for unsolicited but badly needed advice?
Lets take a trip upstairs, to Heaven,(Donít worry, youíll be back before youíre missed). What do you think the opinion is up there about Black Friday? Do you suppose those that get good deals or die trying get sainthood by dying on an appointed day of human sacrifice? Do you recall reading in the good book about Black Friday being one of the seven festivals or holy days? Right now I can see God frowning. This wasnít in his plansÖthough Iím sure he saw it coming. This wasnít how he had wanted his son remembered. As a reason to shop till you drop... drop dead! As a reason to one up aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers and friends, on the most lavish gift bought at seventy five percent off. To look like big spenders on minimum wage budgets. Yep. Iím sure God knew that we would miss the point. After all, he has many friends surrounding him who are with him because of manís inability to bear the truth. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Elisha, Elijah, Micah, Nehemiah, and numerous other prophets and missionaries that were killed or nearly killed trying to get mankind to see the truth, pre and post Christís birth. The truth of Jesus and his sacrifice. That Christmas is a day to honor him and him only. Not to shop. Not to receive earthly gifts. Not to buy earthly gifts. To share Jesusí entry into the world. To share Godís entry into the world. Itís amazing how many different ways man can corrupt the good news.
Iím pretty sure, not one hundred percent sure, but pretty sure, that on that first Christmas morning God hadnít gotten up at four a.m. and run down to the nearest pre dawn sale for a seventy five percent discounted son, wrapped him in swaddling clothes, dumped him in a manger and said, ďHere you go. This is the best I could do at the last minuteĒ. My take on it is that he prepared for four thousand years to send the most precious gift he had, himself, wrapped in flesh, God in person. No discount, but one hundred percent God. One hundred percent man. One hundred percent free to us. To those that canít add thatís two hundred percent beyond our expectations. There was no mob that morning trying to get their hands on this gift, trying to get there first, just three shepherds who arrived in awe, who were extremely thankful. There was no Christmas tree surrounded by multi colored packages with gifts for kids that they would grow tired of by lunch time. There was just one gift, to be shared by all. A gift that didnít need batteries would never wear out and wouldnít go out of season. There was God.
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