Happy Thanksgiving! Today is such a great day for many of us. I have so many good memories of gathering at my grandparents’ house with family, enjoying each other’s company, and, quite honestly, gorging ourselves with the feast grandma created for us all! The naps! Let me tell you about the naps! There is nothing like passing out on the couch in a room full of loved ones engaging in conversation about…well, nothing too important. Just the sound of everyone’s voices is very comforting. There is nothing like being in a room full of people who love you. That’s what family is all about!
Several years ago after our Thanksgiving festivities, there was some discussion about heading to the local “Mega-Store” chain down the road to get in on the early Black Friday deals! Yes… a few stores would open up on Thanksgiving to get a jumpstart on their yearly profits. I hear that tradition has continued and I’m still disturbed by that a little bit. Anyway, I decided to go one year. I had my eye on a few gifts for my family, and if I could save a buck or two, then maybe it was worth it? What I witnessed on this trip was nothing short of shocking. I’ve been reading up on some of the extreme cases of Black Friday madness recently, and I found some crazy information. Did you know in 2011 a woman pepper sprayed everyone around her in order to get the Xbox game that was on sale?! Wow. In fact, I found this video online that outlines some of the worst Black Friday disasters in recent history. Buckle up. It’s very disturbing. Don’t get me wrong…a penny saved is a penny earned. I love a good deal! But what is the real cost?
To be clear, I know these are some extreme cases. I get it. I’m not discouraging you from participating in Black Friday. What I am saying is that we need to make sure our motives are well thought out. If you find yourself in a mob, be aware of your surroundings. In our desire to be generous to our loved ones, it can be really easy to forget about the other human beings around us. Anytime I am out and about, I find myself “people watching” a little bit. I am always curious about what is going on in the minds of those around me. What are their stories? What are they celebrating? What are they challenged with? We are surrounded with opportunities to bless others. Maybe your Black Friday shopping blitz is a time to live out our church motto, “There’s more to life than me.” Maybe on Friday you do something bold with your generosity. What if you pick up a portion of the bill for the person ahead of you? Maybe when you hit Starbucks for a caffeine fill-up you tell the cashier you will buy a drink for the person behind you. When we are open to God’s leading, you never know what will happen. You may end up having an encouraging conversation with someone that could be a catalyst for life change!
Bottom line—go have some fun this Friday! Go out and shop for those you love! Be a light in a very dark world. Just leave your pepper spray at home.