Pastor’s pondering

Black Friday.  For many Americans these two words carry with it the hope and promise of catching some fantastic deals while purchasing gifts for Christmas.  It seems the term itself has become synonymous with gifts.  Yet, this has not always been the case.  In fact, the day after Thanksgiving in the United States has only been associated with shopping for items at lower than usual prices since around 1952; it has only been around for about 70 years.

I can recall when this infamous bargain shopping day used to see people lined up at the wee hours of the morning to secure that most treasured item for a friend or family member.  Yet, in recent years, with the rise of e-commerce and the ability to shop from the comfort of our own homes, this trend has been changing, hasn’t it?  I’ve even seen Black Friday deals that began early in November, instead of their usual place on the calendar.  Perhaps this is a testament to the idea that times and traditions come and go, that change is ever on the horizon.

            However, we also have to understand that Black Friday carries a very different meaning in the rest of the world.  In the United Kingdom, for instance, Black Friday is a day of celebration, a party day of sorts, on the Friday before Christmas.  Yet, for most places where an American Thanksgiving is not recognized or celebrated, Black Friday carries a very dark connotation.  When this phrase is uttered elsewhere in the world memories of financial crises, domestic riots, natural disasters, wars, and/or terrorist attacks come to mind.  For most of the world there is little in the term to bring any sort of light in the situation.

            Interestingly enough, the synoptic Gospels all share a very similar verse that also speaks to this concept.  In Matthew 27:45, Mark 15:33, and Luke 23:44 we read that “darkness came over the whole land.”  In fact, they all say that this darkness occurred for three continuous hours.  When was this?  Well, at Jesus’ crucifixion – perhaps the very first Black Friday.

            While in our modern faith, we so often call this day “Good Friday,” it was a dark day, both symbolically and literally.  Luke’s Gospel proclaims that it was then that “the sun’s light failed” (Lk 23:45).  For three full hours as Jesus hung upon the cross, darkness fell upon the land and made the midday black as night.  That day, as our Savior died, he gave his life for all the people of the world, then and now.  It was, and still is, a dark experience.

            Yet, as we also know that Black Friday became Good Friday, because in the giving of this gift (a gift that we can never put a price to), Jesus provided the way for us, didn’t he?  He gave us the most precious and priceless gift, surpassing any deal we might find in store sales today, and he did so to bring about change, to bring times and traditions to a close, opening up a new way for us all.  The Light overcame the darkness.  Black Friday was transformed into something good.

            So, perhaps, as we are all out focusing on what gifts to buy this holiday season, we should also pause to remember the ultimate gift that was given to us on the blackest of Fridays.  After all, Jesus is the reason for the season, Amen?

                                                            Always pondering,

                                                            Pastor Steve

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *