Meanderings of a Minister


Black Friday
November 9, 2011, 5:54 pm
Filed under: Articles

I am reading a book by Rick McKinley, Chris Seay and Greg Holder, Advent Conspiracy:  Can Christmas Still Change the World?.  In the book, the authors suggest that we, even Christians, have gone from worshiping God to worshiping consumerism.  They suggest that breaking the spell of stuff might just be the only way to get our lives, hearts and finances right before God.  As I sit in a Starbucks in Edmond, Oklahoma, I feel the weight of that conviction.  In two days, I have spent nearly five dollars for coffee.  In that same amount of time, I have been able to observe people and listen to their conversations and stories.

This morning (Thursday), I showed up at 6:15 and found a man in the parking lot that was in a car filled with garbage.  He was asking not for money, but for coffee.  I went in and got him a cup.  They did not charge me for the coffee for the man as he is a regular that the staff has decided to take care of.  As I thought about that situation, I noticed a headline that shouted at me to get ready for Black Friday.

Since my brain does not work the way most other people’s do, I connected the dots and thought of another Black Friday.  For centuries after Christ’s resurrection, the church referred to that Friday as Black Friday.  It was labeled as such because it was a dark day that saw the Son of God handed over to the men He came to save.  Instead of worshiping Him, they whipped Him.  Instead of caring for Him, they crucified Him.  Instead of loving Him, they laughed at Him.  This was the darkest moment in human history.  It was called Black Friday.

So, how did this connect together?  I am not sure I can fully explain it, but I will try.  We have gone from worshiping the One that was killed in our place to blowing right past Thanksgiving to get to the season that should cause us to remember and revere Him, but, instead, we scour the ads, plan the trips, get up early and fight our way to get the best bargains on stuff we don’t need while most of the world He came to save goes to bed hungry.  We will spend more on coffee (this is the part that convicted me) than most people will make in a week.  We will upgrade appliances when most of the world does not have houses.

So, what can we do about it?  That is where the book comes in.  The authors suggest that we can worship fully by being fully available to meet the needs we encounter every day.  We can spend less, but give more by giving personally considered and constructed gifts.  Most importantly, we can love more people and not let the “Spirit of the Season” drive us to consume, but instead let the Spirit Who inspires the season consume us.  When we do this, we will be celebrating Christmas.

Some suggestions for accomplishing this include (but are not limited to):

  • Buying two journals and giving one to a friend or family member that lives away from you with the understanding that you will both write in the journals throughout the year and will exchange journals for Christmas next year so that you can be more connected.
  • Setting a budget for giving and then matching that budget with gifts to missions organizations working around the world.
  • Specifically avoiding ads, sales and other situations that might tempt you to spend more than you had planned and using that time to read the Christmas story with children in your home or neighbors’ children.
  • Consider giving away one old toy and one new toy for each gift you give your children and have them pick out what is to be given.

As I thought there thinking about these very things, I got an instant message that a friend’s grandmother was going in to have emergency heart surgery and they were needing prayer.  I thought that is the best gift I can give them and that can happen right now.  Maybe that is a first step.

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