Well today’s the day. It’s finally arrived! It’s officially “Black Friday!” Black Friday has become one of the biggest shopping days of the year. This is the day that, as legend has it, the retailers books turn from loss (red) to black (profit). It’s a day that is heralded as the day to get the biggest bargains you will get at any time throughout the year. (FYI… the Saturday before Christmas is usually a bigger retail day).
Yet, I’ve noticed something interesting this year. I doubt this is the first year this is happened, but it’s definitely the first year I’ve noticed it. This year, I, like you, was inundated with “Pre-Black Friday” adds. Retailers started Black Friday sometime ago. By my account, November has now actually become “Black Month”. By intentional design, there has been an incredible push to extend the shopping frenzy and get it off just one day. And head’s up, as soon as this day passes, there will be Cyber Monday, and Small Business Day, and…
But according the History Channel, Black Friday as we know it today actually didn’t begin as a day of retailing bonanza. What we today think of as Black Friday is quite a distance from what it originally was. The modern roots of Black Friday first and foremost have to do with a huge financial crash in the mid 1800’s. The second real round of the use of the phrase Black Friday goes back to the mid 1950’s in Philadelphia. Black Friday then was used to describe the chaos that came the day after Thanksgiving when hordes of people from the suburbs flooded into the city ahead of the big Army-Navy football game that was held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This meant that not only did the Philadelphia cops not get to take Friday off, they had to work extra-long shifts to deal with the crowds and the additional traffic. Opportunistic shoplifters would take advantage of the distraction and use the occasion to steal from stores. Thus it was day of huge loss. It was “Black Friday!”
Again, according to the History Channel, by 1961 Black Friday was a dark tradition that was putting down roots. Merchants tried to change the name of the day to “Big Friday” to start to make it sound a little more positive. It wasn’t until only 30 years ago that it came to mean what it now means and was embraced as a day to get something on the cheap.
Now I’m going to tell you about the real roots of Black Friday. The real roots go back about 2000 years. In fact, they go all the way back to a small site in the Middle East where on hill outside Jerusalem one very innocent man was crucified for many very guilty people. The first noteworthy Black Friday was the day Jesus was crucified!
Part of what made it so dark was the reality of what really happened that day. What Jesus did was so unexpected and so undeserved. He freely gave up his life, and he did it for us! It’s not like we warranted the price that was paid on our behalf. Actually, far from it. But this is what makes it such an incredible day! Romans 5:6-8 says it this way,
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Talk about a rip off… for him! We got set free…Jesus got crucified!
You see Black Friday was the day that the blackness of sin was covered with the redness of an innocent man’s blood which led to the whiteness of forgiveness of the guilty!
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
There was simply no way to offer this on the cheap. There was no discount given to Jesus on the cross. He paid the price. He paid the full price!
So NOW you know the truth and NOW you have a great reason to celebrate Black Friday! Thank you Jesus!