Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Frenzy: (def.) 1. A state of violent mental agitation or wild excitement. 2. Temporary madness or delirium. 3. A mania; a craze. In other words: Black Friday.

Today 45% of the nation’s citizens will shop and spend money. This means that 55% of you are highly organized and have your shopping done . . . or you are a man and it will be weeks before you are concerned that there is nothing under the tree with a tag reading, “Love, (insert your name here).”

My Mom, my sisters, and I are probably at the mall even as you read this. I am one of the crazy women who arrive at a store at 5:00 in the morning to shop for the early bargains. My family, with one exception, is known for rising early and being bargain driven, which makes Black Friday a perfect shopping day for us. (Lori, my younger sister, is not genetically engineered for the day but does succumb to peer pressure.) I will have consumed three cups of coffee, shopped, and returned home by the time most of you read this essay. Thank goodness for leftovers because we won’t be worth much for the rest of the day!

Black Friday can be rough. In 2006 an estimated 15,000 shoppers jammed a mall in Murray, Utah. Nine fights were reported and police arrived to find customers throwing clothing at each other. In 2009, eight shoppers were arrested in a Chicago mall for engaging in “mob action.” (I’m not sure which department store ad was responsible.) A Toys R Us manager was thrown against a window after opening his door at midnight on Black Friday. A woman was punched in the head but refused to press charges or get medical treatment–she had shopping to do! Last year, a line at a toy store in Memphis got out of hand and a man was tasered while a woman emptied pepper spray into the crowd.

For those of you who are frightened by Black Friday, there is always Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday 2010 was the biggest online-shopping day in history. Just over one billion US dollars were spent online that day–48.9% of that shopping was done from an office computer. You might want to postpone your staff meeting until Tuesday . . . afternoon.

Jesus never bought a Christmas gift or put up a Christmas tree. He would likely have spent the same amount of money in December as he did in April. His culture was completely different from ours. And his words are food for thought today:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him (John 3:16-17).

The greatest gift you can give this Christmas season is Jesus. No shopping, wrapping, or frenzy required! I pray all of us will give the “one and only Son” for Christmas this year.

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