Black Friday is no longer Black Friday. Gone are the early hours of the morning, the crowded parking lots, the long lines, the excitement bristling in the air as the rush for an item begins. Gone is the camaraderie of new friends as we search for items together. Gone is the fun of traveling from store to store. Gone is the exhaustion of returning home and crashing back into bed for a few more hours.
Instead, the stores are now open on Thanksgiving. Early in the evening rather than late at night. Will we one day say goodbye to this holiday and embrace a crazy shopping day that has replaced Black Friday?
I refuse to go shopping on Thanksgiving. I do not want this day of gratitude to the Lord and a gathering of families to be replaced with a materialistic day. Thanksgiving is supposed to be a family day, a day when stores are closed and people can enjoy being with their families. For the past few years, this day has changed into an early Black Friday.
I miss Black Friday. Yes, this is a materialistic day, but I did not go out to grab the biggest deal. I went out mainly to enjoy the craziness. And to finish my Christmas shopping, which was usually something within my budget and not at all expensive. I miss waking up at 3 in the morning and driving at night to find the parking lot almost full of cars that have grown cold. While in line, someone would strike up a conversation with me, and we would admit how crazy it was to get up so early in the morning for something that is not going to last. I miss the camaraderie as people wander through the stores. Several times, I have pointed them in the right direction. Several times, I have been pointed in the right direction. The help did not come from the already frazzled store workers, but from other shoppers.
Two years ago, I went out on Black Friday, like usual. Rather than the crowds and the fun, I was the only one in the store. The sales had ended, for the store had opened on Thanksgiving. This year, I am sleeping in. This year, I am going to enjoy a day off work and be grateful for what I have.
Will you be like me and refuse to go shopping on Thanksgiving? Let's bring back the joy and fun of Black Friday, rather than shorten our precious family time. Let's give the retail workers a day where they themselves are able to enjoy a holiday with their families. Not only are we sacrificing our families for the sake of a sale, but we are also forcing the retail workers to sacrifice themselves. Is this fair to the workers? Should we be so greedy that we forget what is truly important, our families?
Let's boycott Thanksgiving shopping.
Monday, November 17, 2014
CHILD OF GOD
Throughout my years of the Christian life, I have repeatedly heard the phrase, "I am a child of God." However, what does that phrase mean? A child of God?
When I watch children play and interact with each other, I see the joy and the innocence they portray. Young children believe what you tell them, even if it is not true. Does the childlike belief portray the meaning of a child of God? I don't believe so. The Bible tells us to test what we are hearing and seeing. When we come to the Lord, we begin with a simple faith, a childlike faith. As we mature (and children mature as well), our faith matures. We become a teenager and then an adult in the faith.
I think of 'child of God' as being just that. New parents will call their baby their son or daughter. Biological and adoptive parents. That child will always be their child. When we first believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, God is literally in the hospital room or in the airport (put another place in here), anxiously waiting to see His newest child. Like all parents, God rejoices over each of His children and celebrates over each rebirth. Once we become a child of God, we will always be a child of God.
As any parent, God takes over the responsibility that comes with parenthood. The frustrations and the joys of watching children grow. Discipline and patience is needed, and God is no exception. He teaches His child about Him, about His expectations, and about His grace and love. Each of us is under His protection, just like a parent protects their child. Each of us falls under His name. God takes great pride and joy in each of us.
As a child of God, we can expect acceptance, love, and discipline. In order to teach us, God has to discipline us. God takes His role of Father seriously and joyfully. He will not allow us to wander too far without warning and firm discipline. When we do wander too far and turn away from Him, God anxiously waits for our return. When we do return, He embraces us and forgives us. We are never too out of reach.
When you sponsor a child through Compassion, you become their second parent, the one they turn to for guidance and love. We have the blessing of molding a young life, of discipling a child, of showing him/her the greatness of the Lord's love for them. Will you open your heart and become a parent to a precious child of God? If you do, please comment below and let me know.