It’s coming. The day marked for the celebration of the birth of Jesus is nearing. Comments are frequently made about the origination of the holiday being pagan. I would argue that which was pagan and made religious has largely become pagan again. The “celebration” that we now call Christmas has become the commercial exploitation of God’s incarnation. Is there another way of celebrating?
It’s here. Black Friday. The day after Thanksgiving, millions of people are sacrificing a full night of sleep and either stay up all night or awake very early to drive their vehicles to shopping malls and retail stores across the country. Long lines, crammed traffic grids, and hateful behaviors are no deterrent from the cost savings for the mass purchasing of items that may or may not be needed.
Black Friday is an interesting social phenomenon. Why do consumers think they are saving money? Do consumers consider what money actually is? Are the majority of purchases on Black Friday for items that would be purchased even if “sales” didn’t exist? Is the purchasing of items encouraging unfair trade or even slavery in other countries? May we all begin to consider the fullness of what it means to consume, buy, worship, purchase, and enslave while imagining what alternative behavior may be more life sustaining as we celebrate the coming of God into human reality.
I have three ideas/propositions wrapped up in one benediction for how we might go about Black Friday:
May we be most concerned about our relationships with others. May we purchase only what we or others need. May we embrace our imaginative capacities.