We dub today “Black Friday” which is a bit of a dubious honor. We associate “black” with the black plague in the Middle Ages but we also know “Black is beautiful.” This tension carries into the modern naming of the day after Thanksgiving as “Black Friday.” It feels to me this year that the whole month is advertisements about pre-Black Friday sales. We step into the tension between wanting to bless friends and the reality of our financial limitations. We want to recover financially from the economic stress we are feeling but we want to be kind.
I find it ironical that today, a day of sales and preparations for blessing others at Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Christ, is called Black Friday. On the other hand, the Friday before Easter, the day we celebrate the crucifixion, before the joys of Easter, we call “Good Friday.”
The name “Black Friday” was first used around 1951 and did not begin to pick up momentum until 1975, in many of our life times. Whatever the origins, if in the suburban crowds that come to the city to shop for Christmas, or the fans that flock to football games, or because shop owners anticipate their red ledgers turning black after being in the red due to Coved, today is one of the biggest shopping days of the year and is used to predict the health of the economy.
So perhaps one question we can reflect on today is how we cope with those down times and those stress filled times in our life. Many turn to alcohol or shopping and partying. Others find joy in community and gathering together. There might be a bit of the Grinch in many of us. I think of the Bible verse Proverbs 17:22,
“A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
We may not have much spare money to share this year but money is not a measure of the love in our hearts. Good or hard times is not a measure of the love in the heart of God whom we celebrate incarnating to be with us on Christmas, not as a dictator but as a small child loving us during dark times. As you manage this Black Friday, may you be blessed knowing God loves you in ways way beyond the material. Blessings!