I went Black Friday Shopping last week.
You have to understand I didn’t do it intentionally, In fact It was the furthest thing from my mind. My idea of Black Friday shopping is sitting at home in my PJ’s with a hot cup of coffee and surfing the web for all the best ‘cyber deals’. The thought of going out at ridiculous hours of the night or morning, waging war for parking spaces or getting in huge lines of hundreds of people waiting to lay claim to only 3 treasured items, just isn’t my idea of fun and relaxation.
So how did this happen you ask? On Thanksgiving night after a delightful day filled with gluttonous eating, watching/playing football and enjoying time with family, my wife sent me out to pick up a few grocery items we needed for the next day. As I headed out my thought was what store would be open on Thanksgiving night? My answer, Super Walmart! I figured they would be open and I could ‘run in’ grab the groceries and be home. As I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed how busy it was and wondered if everyone was ‘running out’ for a few groceries as well. And then it dawned on me, crowds like this could only mean one thing, I’m out with the ‘Black Friday’ crowds! Panic set-in, I contemplated turning around and heading home but I ‘manned up’, parked a mile a way and journeyed into the madness.
As I entered the store I was stunned, I had never seen such a site, everyone (and I mean everyone) was racing around the store, most carts were full and almost every one had a giant flat screen tv in them. The aisles were clogged as crowds gathered around Wal-Mart employees unveiling giant boxes filled ‘doorbuster’ deals. I noticed my own heart started racing and I began getting caught up in the excitement. I fought through crowds to start grabbing what must be amazing deals. The next thing I knew I was into it. My cart started to fill up. I realized I was buying things just because everyone else was, no time to think, I just figured I could return what I didn’t want later. And then I remembered why I was there, the milk, the orange juice and cheese. I ventured over to the grocery side of the store, which was a ‘ghost town’ ( No ‘Black Friday’ doorbusters on ketchup ), grabbed my items, stood in the never ending check-out lane, paid for my stuff and headed home.
Now I know what I’ve been missing, I see why adrenaline junkies do this each year.
It will be back to shopping in my PJ’s next year. But as I drove home I couldn’t help but contrast the excitement for landing a ‘great deal’ and my excitement for celebrating and knowing the presence of Jesus. So my prayer is that this advent season and throughout the coming year, my joy will be found not in scoring a pair of $20 noise-cancellation bluetooth headphones but as I learn to rest in the arms of my savior’s embrace. There is good news! Jesus has come, sin has been conquered, death defeated, the grave overwhelmed, the child born in Bethlehem, reigns and rules as our Savior. Now this I can get excited about!
“O Holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us we pray, cast out or sin and enter in be born in us today… O come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Emmanuel”