As so many families did yesterday, I also enjoyed Thanksgiving with my family. The food was just like yours — the drinks, the entrees, the desserts — all very familiar, i would think. And there is something else that happened which i would hope is also commonplace at a Thanksgiving get-together: giving thanks. And i will be the first to admit that there have been many-a-Thanksgivings where not a single word was spoken about what anyone is thankful for at the dinner table. This year was different. Without going into any detail, i will say that by the end of the day, there wasn’t a person in the house who wasn’t trying to express their thankfulness about their life and situation. God knows how to shake us up sometimes, i guess, and count-out our blessings for us.
So we were all weary by the end of the day, sitting around in the living room, looking like one of those boxers deep into the match — hands on the ropes, head drooping below shoulder-level, weariness across the brow. But we took the time, and went around the room — all of us — and we told everything that we were thankful for. And it was very nice, and very appropriate, and very heartfelt. It needed to be done…
There is this joke that circulates around this time of the year and it is so true (see meme):
We have one day each year which is set-aside for nothing but giving thanks, and it is followed SO very quickly by a day of absolute debauchery in regards to our contentedness in worldly possessions. (Now granted, I know many people use the deals to get ahead for Christmas shopping, or wait purposely to get a deal on something they’ve needed for a while, etc… It’s not all selfish, self-indulgent, ungrateful, materialism, but it is certainly some percentage of all the purchases!)
But what i am getting at here is this: Why not follow-up Thanksgiving with White Friday, instead of Black Friday (no, not a racial thing). Black Friday has a dark cloud over it, right? While we were at Belk on Thanksgiving evening, the cashier recounted to me her own fears of Black Friday, and how it brings to mind the trampling incident that happened a couple of years ago at a Wal-Mart store. Well, how about doing something completely different, then?
Why do we need to trample each other to get more stuff?
Why not use what we already have to lift others up? / Why not use what we have to improve someone’s life?
You need a TV, and you need shoes. You need clothes, and you need a phone. You need all kinds of things, but at the end of the day, there is something even greater that is needed: charity, which flows from gratefulness; love-in-action, which flows from God’s love in your heart; a peaceful word, which brings someone rest; a helping hand that brings blessing where there was none.
You have boots: where will they go?
You have a phone; who will it call?
You have hands to help: are they?
You have love to give: do you give it?
You have a listening ear: what’s it heard lately?
You have a word of comfort: who has heard it lately?
Let’s reclaim Black Friday, and make it bright for someone else (White Friday) — turn the tables; flip the script; give, rather than receive; bless, rather than be embellished; lavish others, rather than ourselves.
In fact, why stop with this particular Friday… why not do this everyday!
Why, that sounds oddly familiar. Who said it? Ah, yes! Jesus Christ Himself:
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” – Acts 20:35 (A saying of Jesus, which the Apostle Paul quoted.)
“Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” — Matthew 5:42-45 NASB
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.” — Matthew 16:24-27 NASB