Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Making Black Friday a Good Friday

I've written before about my family's Holiday Curse.  We have been stranded far from home due to car breakdowns, wrecked our cars (twice on a single holiday weekend), been violently ill, dealt with deaths in our extended family, wound up in the emergency too many times to count, and on and on and on.

It took me many years and many unexpected holiday situations to finally realize the lesson God was trying to drill into my head. 

When those "curses" happen, they nearly always put us in a location where wouldn't otherwise have expected to be on a holiday, encountering people who are either forced to work on a holiday or are themselves dealing with some sort of cursed holiday.

What if, instead of lamenting finding ourselves in yet another un-festivity, we would open our eyes to see the opportunities He has place in front of us?  The people He wants to bless, the struggling holiday nomads who need a touch of God's grace, the opportunities to actually do something for someone.

Black Friday is coming, a day many people approach with dread.  It's the topic of negative Facebook status posts and complaining tweets, blogs devoted to the frustrations of the commercialization of Christ's birthday.

Perhaps we should see Black Friday as an opportunity to live out a Good Friday:  Go to the mall or other stores with no intention of shipping (unless you happen to discover an Avengers Christmas tree skirt you just can't resist). 

Spend your time intentionally looking for the people who need assistance with something. Lend a hand to someone who looks lost.  Strike up a friendly conversation with the sad-faced husband who is worn out from being the designated pack horse.  Speak of word of thanks and encouragement to the employees who have been on their feet all day. 

Share a table in the cafe court with a harried shopper and help them with their kids while giving them a chance for a few minutes of conversation with a cheerful adult.

Live incarnationally among the people caught on the Black Friday treadmill.  For a few moments, make a memory with them, a blessing for a Good Friday.