Nothing says “Jesus isn’t in this” more than the Black Friday fight I witnessed several years ago. For the life of me I cannot remember what the two ladies were fighting over, but I’m sure it wasn’t worth the time they spent in jail. I don’t know if you’ve ever gone Christmas shopping the day after Thanksgiving when people wait in line for hours for the hottest items no one will remember next year, but it’s pretty awesome. Last Black Friday, I did get a good deal on four shop lights, three sets of sheets, two electric griddles, and a mini LED flashlight…but who’s counting?
As I was waiting in line for the sheets I probably didn’t need, one lady hopped on top of the sheet display and was throwing them to her friends. Another was frantically trying to reconcile her Christmas list with the sheet set limit while fending off line jumpers with rude comments. One lady blocked the sheet display with her cart and used her smallest children to maneuver through the crowd. Well played! Ironically, the sheets that were supposed to bring comfort were making me very anxious as people began to grab them like they were the last loaf of bread in the Apocalypse. I gently grabbed the ones I needed/wanted and got out with my life.
The Christmas shopping crazies come out on Black Friday. It’s a whole lot safer on Cyber Monday from the comfort of your recliner. While walking extremely slow through the store on the overcrowded aisles, I thought, “I’m not sure this is the kind of between-Thanksgiving-and-Christmas activity Jesus expected us to do when He came to earth 2,000 years ago.” After all, does joy really come from buying things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like? The more I thought about it, I believe He did anticipate it…and a whole lot more. He knew how selfish, rude, angry, and sinful we were. He not only knew the intentionally overpriced and under-stocked junk would get people in the flesh, He knew people would lie, steal, cheat, gossip, backbite, fight, and even kill others for a whole lot less. Jesus came into this sinful world to save us from our sinful selves. 1 Timothy 1:15 says, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” He died on a bleak and black Friday, but resurrected on a bright and glorious Sunday.
Questions: What really is the true Christmas spirit? Have you ever found yourself focused on all the wrong things at Christmas?
Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.