This nation has a new holiday called Black Friday. It has slowly supplanted Thanksgiving much as the lifestyle of “Get” has replaced the lifestyle of “Give.” The holidays have been traditionally been associated with “Giving” living out that eternal truth – “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35)
Giving comes with its own rewards….Liz Dunn a social psychologist showed that a people’s sense of happiness was greater when they spent relatively more on others than themselves. Dunn and colleagues found that even those with little money reported greater happiness when their proportion of spending on others, relative to the self, was greater.
Giving is birthed in Gratitude. We can generously and freely give only when we are content with our blessings. Thanksgiving was the day set aside by Abraham Lincoln to honor the God of our provision. Puritan prayer and shared meals marked the day.
Professor Robert Emmons at U.C. Davis has shown that gratitude journaled once a week over 6-7 weeks measurably lowers depression in teens. A moment to pause at the dinner table to invite everyone to mention the things they are grateful for, would center the purpose of the event. Grateful individuals tend to take more time for acts of kindness, and this in turn gives them hope. Thankful individuals tend to be well received in schools, communities, and workplaces, creating opportunities. What is not to like?
This new holiday that is replacing Thanksgiving is aptly called Black Friday. This day means we are absent from work and we also congregate….sort of like congregations for other religious services on other major Holidays.
Like Passover/Easter holidays when there needs to be atoning blood spilled – in 2008 a Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death as the congregation surged forward tearing the doors off the hinges. Like the incense of Yom Kippur and Mass the sweet aroma of Teargas filled a Los Angeles store when a woman injured 20 people fighting for the same sale items.
Thanksgiving and Black Friday compete for this nation’s heart and it appears the earlier and earlier sales are shortening Thanksgiving. The long lines of shopping squatters who used to wait all night now gave way to major stores opening Thursday– robbing all retail workers of their Day of Thanks. It would be sad were these long lines for a food bank or soup kitchen but it is sadder still when the line is the start of a stampede to get discount junk.
This pursuit of happiness means exhaustion for a lot of Americans. This Black holiday is marked by epidemic of depression and anxiety that now defines the season. Materialism is near collapse and now thousands of psychiatrists are busy medicating younger and younger people who are bottoming out in the cathedrals of consumerism. Black Friday will be followed by the morning hangover when the bills announce their day of reckoning. Our society built on our materialism cannot last. Who will answer when we call in our time of need?
Thanksgiving will replace Black Friday in the days ahead…..This Babylon is going down…. Rev 18v11 The world’s businessmen weep and mourn over her, because no one is buying their merchandise any more –
Then Abraham Lincoln will be our guide when he declared this day “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”
Let us return to the old paths ……