Daily Archives: November 29, 2013

love is staying home on black friday

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2.13-14

The most popular holiday is upon us. Stores are lining their aisles with Christmas goodies and décor, TV networks have been airing holiday specials since the start of November and Santa has arrived at shopping centers around the country. Oh, and Black Friday…or Rowdy Thursday, as I’ve come to call it.

I found myself pondering the rush of today’s holiday season to the birth of Christ. God created a frenzy (localized) without the power of TV, without candy canes and Black Friday sales. He involved a poor couple who would bring the Son of God into the world.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. Luke 2.4-7

It’s Black Friday. The biggest shopping day of the year. Sales started yesterday, which, in my humble opinion, is a crying shame. Thanksgiving should be spent at home with family. Not at the mall.

It’s Black Friday. A day when, in years passed, people have died (both employees and customers alike) in pursuit of the biggest sale, weapons have been wielded over the last item on the shelf and the year’s biggest toy can bring out the worst in people (remember Tickle-Me-Elmo?).

I cringe when I hear the first strains of Black Friday specials and even more so when they start posting store hours for Thanksgiving Day.

My family hasn’t once set foot in a store over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and I don’t have any intention of ever doing so, in the foreseeable future at least….unless it was absolutely necessary (i.e. last minute turkey dinner shopping needs or emergencies). My Mom doesn’t see the purpose or the joy in fighting over the best deal just so you can save a few bucks and she’s managed to leave that legacy to her children.

Since I’ve left home, I’ve discovered that I love cooking and baking (holiday baking only). I choose to share that experience with my mom and my sister (and sometimes my grandmother) over the holiday weekend each year. We’ve officially called it a “Holiday Bake-off,” a special event where we make more than 50 dozen goodies to share with friends and family during the coming month. Grandma and Mom share memories from when they were growing up, silly memories are shared by the spoonful (pun intended) and laughter abounds, blending in with the sounds of the electric mixer, Christmas tunes streaming from the iPod, Hallmark holiday movies airing back to back, the warmth of the oven and the cool breeze of a cracked window. Oh what fun we have!

For us, love is staying home on Black Friday. Always has been.

People seem to have forgotten that love isn’t hurting another to get your child what they want for Christmas. Why not do that which is right and moral? Why not give what they need instead? Why not stay home and bask in the love, fellowship and joy of community with your family and friends?

People also seem to have forgotten that Christmas isn’t just about showing love for those you care for, but for those who are undeserving and those in need; those you don’t even personally know (this goes for every other day of the year too). God gave of Himself. He came to earth, lived a human life and died a death He didn’t deserve so He could save those who are undeserving and those He didn’t physically know during His time on earth (you and me). Why not reflect on that and share God’s love with those around you?

Why not remember today the true meaning of Christmas?

Peace on earth

Goodwill toward men

The Savior has come to show us how to love, live and give.

“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – Jesus, John 10.9-11

Instead of rushing to buy the fanciest toy at the lowest price possible, think of how you can give to those who normally would go without. How can you help those less fortunate? How can you show them the true meaning of Christmas? How can you share God’s love with them? What would that look like lived out, not just today, but every day?

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” The Great Commission – Matthew 28.18-20

29. “home”

How lovely is your dwelling place,
Lord Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young –
a place near you altar,
Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you!
Psalm 84.1-4

I return to the land of my upbringing several times a year since I moved out of my childhood home. At first, it was every weekend. Granted, back then I was attending a college that was less than two hours away and that made the commute home easier than it is now. Now, I’m lucky if I get home more than four times in  a year with the distance and price of gas.

And that’s where I am now: the land of birth.

I can hear the calves bawling through the windows and the stench of dairy air (yes, pun definitely intended if you’re thinking derrière) greets me every time I walk out those doors. I don’t miss the labor nor do I miss the lifestyle, but I do miss the comaderie and the pace.

Life in the middle of nowhere (literally) is slower than life in the city and even though I’ll be wishing for the lights and the sounds and the people in less than 24 hours, I do enjoy the time I get to return home, visit with my parents, reminisce and make new memories. And it’s a great place to recharge and refocus.

Home warms the heart, especially when we’re separated from it. Distance definitely makes the heart grow fonder when it comes to home…and I have several: the land of my birth (my parents’ home), my apartment in the city and my eternal home with Jesus.

Every human being yearns for home or a home that is theirs. Psalm 84 captures the soul-longing we all have: the home where God dwells. We all have that drive, no matter what walk of life or belief we share.

All of us are always on our way home, even though the intermediate experience of “coming home” is a real but temporary joy. As a Christian, my vision of the future is framed by faith and returning to the land of my youth whets my appetite for the courts of the living God and the presence of Jesus, who gave his all for me.

Such an exercise of faith can create a picture acquainted with reality: God’s home is our home. Do not waste your joy of “coming home” to be here and now – use them to focus on the anticipation you have (and the certainty) of our true home: with God.