The headline in the newspaper November 30 read “Black and Blue Thursday: Traditional Friday rush moves one day forward”. It sounds pretty innocuous. Shop if you want to, don’t complain if you don’t. That has been the general consensus on Black Friday for years. One person said, “I hate to shop on Thanksgiving, but I don’t have much money and I have grandkids. I have to get the best deals I can.” Stores opened late, so everyone can still have an opportunity to give thanks for life’s blessings with family and friends. Right?
Best Buy opened at 1, closed at three, then opened again late. An employee that usually goes out of town to celebrate with his family could not work both shifts he was scheduled for and travel. Without “Black and Blue Thursday” he could have. There are so many other stories. Of course, when you work retail, you have to expect holiday, weekend, early morning and late evening shifts. As a shopper, however, if I can improve someone else’s life, should I not try?
When money is the focus, life gets short changed. There is never enough when the love of money rules. Should not a company make more money if they can or lose less to a competitor at least? If I care more about the money I can save than the lives of salespeople, the hours they are open matter little to me.
God directs parents in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy to place the commandments he gives “upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Every day is a teaching opportunity where our actions speak the loudest and most persuasively. What are we teaching others about our priorities this holiday season?
Jesus said the greatest commandments were to love God and love your neighbor. He explained in a parable that our neighbor is anyone who is in need we can help. We cannot help everyone, but we can help everyone God leads us to. Does that include salespeople?
There is no command from God not to shop on Black and Blue Thursday. If I choose not to shop, however, the stores will not open. More people can focus on giving thanks for the year’s blessings in the company of friends and family. Fewer thoughts will be about buying stuff instead of celebrating relationships.
Take a stand for yourself. Focus on what you have, rather than what you or someone else wants. Enjoy sharing time with others rather than spending time fighting others for deals. Evaluate the need for a deal compared to the need of yourself and your neighbor to build community.
Lessons from Thanksgiving can be helpful in preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Which did Jesus want most from the Wise Men; their gifts or themselves? What gift is most precious to you and your neighbor?