It couldn't have been more than 8-10 years ago when Black Friday was probably some obscure date in history... Maybe it was the day someone invented some horrible weapon or something. Or maybe it was some stock market crash we all forgot about.
But now, here we are in the twenty-first century, undoing something officially started in the nineteenth century when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the final Thursday in November as an official day of Thanksgiving while still in the midst of a bloody civil war. Only FDR tried to change it since then, moving it up a week, thinking it would boost the economy. That proposal went down in flames, so little did people like the holiday tampered with.
Remember growing up, when Thanksgiving was more in danger of being celebrated with mere gluttony and Christmas with sentimentality? Responsible parents encouraged us to remember what it was that we celebrated. Christmas was, as it should be, yet one more opportunity to preach the Gospel.
And what about Thanksgiving? Plenty could be said about this day. It's obviously not something we celebrate out of scriptural mandate. And yet, isn't it true that our gratitude to God can and should be apparent in any way possible, as long as it truly glorifies Him?
So that brings us to the so-called "Black Friday." It might as well be on the calender, since many other countries celebrate something similar after Christmas on "Boxing Day." What makes Black Friday anything but a harmless trip to the store for gift purchases? Well, if it really was that simple, I might have long ago jumped in on the act and taken advantage of a few great deals. And therein lies the challenge: In condemning what transpired two days ago, I don't want to cast judgment on the motives of every shopper who hit the streets at 2 a.m. I do, after all, remember the stories from six years ago of friends who got their 4 a.m. laptop from Best Buy.
So where did things change? I think they changed for me when the Thanksgiving Day holiday became so dreadfully compromised. Since taking time off work and having a big dinner with family and friends is possible on any day, I have a hard time attaching any special significance to it when, once the turkey is picked clean, everyone around me tramples their neighbor in order to get their hands on something so perishable and fleeting. You see, last I checked, a certain measure of contentment was required in order to be truly thankful.
So here's my pledge: I will not celebrate Black Friday in its present form until I am ready to stop celebrating Thanksgiving Day in any meaningful way. The two days, in my mind, have become mutually exclusive.
Maybe its just one way of recognizing that, as Christ himself said, one can't serve God and mammon.