It was a cold dark night. It was obvious that something was about to happen. The stars were out, yet the moon was not to be seen. Apprehension was high in some, as they awaited a miraculous sight… could it be? Many traveled far and wide to participate in the amazing event…
It was the eve before Black Friday at Best Buy!!! Seriously folks…I must confess, I am a black Friday shopper. Yet, this year was the worst. I travelled, truly, 150 miles to go to the Best Buy to score one of their under $200 1080 pixel 40” tvs. When I got there, there were hundreds of people before me. All standing in line, and it was scarcely 20 degrees outside. But, I was ready. Sleeping bag in hand, my 17 year old autistic daughter and I got in line. Both in heavy parkas, I in my ski gloves, I wrapped her in the sleeping bag. It was scarcely minutes after arrival, when she announced, COLD!!! Go Home!!! This child, many who believe has retardation issues, was smarter than the entire crowd, myself included. I considered the gas, and hotel room prior to leaving, yet, had I done it just a few minutes before I purchased the hotel on Priceline, I could have purchased a nicer TV than what was advertised in the sale. For less money!! Sadly, I didn’t score a TV at the sales, yet, there was a purpose to this madness it seems. For, dear reader, I had a revelation.
What do we lose?
You see, Black Friday sales have always been a major event for probably well over the last 20 years. Yet, it wasn’t until the last few years, when merchandisers have gotten hungrier and hungrier for the almighty dollar. You see, now you can shop all day Thanksgiving, as well as Friday. Have we lost the value of giving thanks for all the wonderful things that our gracious Lord has given to us? We cut short our family time, and the honor that we give the almighty turkey, in order to stand in line to fight over the latest video game or TV at a reduced price. What have we lost? How about those retailer’s employees? They lose that time with their family, while all of us insanely stand in line hoping to score a TV or a DVD player, or whatever is on our list, forcing thousands of other people to work who may want to celebrate a day with their families. A full day. 24 hours!! What have we lost?
The retailer, if they were to open up on Friday, as in days past, would still sell all those wonderful deals. As we consider the time we give to our church, both in volunteering and in our church family, I wonder how many people would be willing to stay up all night feeding the homeless, or giving blankets, or perhaps even just to experience what it would be like to stay outside on a frightfully cold night as it was on Thanksgiving night in our area. When we give up precious time that could be beneficially used in giving thanks, even if for only one day a year, and would rather use that time standing in line to empty our checkbooks, it does give one an opportunity to pause. For many, the amount spent on black Friday sales most likely far exceeds the amount given in the collection plate over the year. Yet, justification can be given, after all, an item is purchased, and a present is bought. (Even if it is for us!) Yet, 30 years from now, what are we more likely to remember? A wonderful thanksgiving with our family and friends, or that TV we bought for $179? Even worse, the TV that we couldn’t buy after spending hours in line freezing, yet were too far back in line to obtain such a deal.
And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
It was amazing to me that I finally achieved some value in my choice, from my daughter, who reminded me what was important. Needless to say, we walked away without a TV, or a DVD player, or those wonderful $1.96 videos, but we gained something far more precious, an appreciation in each other, and time that we could spend together. Those infants standing in line with their parents, most likely could not say the same thing. If we look at Luke 12:15, we find that perhaps those items that we can buy so cheaply also cheapen our values and our priorities. Truthfully, if we evaluate even the quality of the product, we would find that those deals often are very cheap for a reason.
We need to re-evaluate our priorities….God first, Family second…and getting those cheap TV’s need to really drop down on the list. Materialism is not the answer for happiness. We need to look up-not around.