Why do Thanksgiving and Black Friday come so close together?
Most legends say that “Black Friday” got its name because this is the time of the year when retailors finally start making a profit – operating in the “BLACK”. This has been disproven many times, but many people still believe it. (Really? It takes over 11 months to cover the cost of doing business? Maybe we should look for a new business model!)
It seems more likely that the real origin of “Black Friday” came from the Police force of Philadelphia in the 1960’s, in response to the huge number of shoppers coming into the city after Thanksgiving to begin their holiday shopping AND the huge numbers of people who also came in to attend Saturday’s Army/Navy football game! The crowds were overwhelming to the police (traffic control, accidents, thefts), so they began calling this “Black Friday”.
It is ironic (or maybe moronic?) that the day we pause to be grateful and the day we indulge in blatant consumerism are right next to each other! But maybe it’s also understandable – we over-indulge on Thanksgiving, too!
What can we do about this? I don’t object to people/stores making a profit, but our focus needs to be re-oriented.
THINGS ARE TO BE USED. PEOPLE ARE TO BE LOVED.
Thanksgiving should be a time of gratitude – to God, to others, to those who have gone before us. It’s a recognition that all of us have received from others; that none of us are self-made.
What can we do that will lead to gratitude in others?
And shopping on Black Friday (which Philadelphia tried to change to “Big Friday”, which never took off!) can be good, if we remember that things can never take the place of people. It’s okay to buy something – just don’t overdo it!
We also ask you to remember GIVING TUESDAY – which will be on Nov. 28th this year. What would it be like if we GAVE as much to our church or favorite charity as we SPENT on Black Friday? Our church has a Giving page set up, which you can find in the article below.
This Thanksgiving, remember those who have gone before you. The people who built this church, those who served your home country, those who helped you grow into the person you are today. Take time to remember your teachers, your Sunday School leaders, your church leaders, your basketball coaches, your neighborhood matriarchs and patriarchs.
And then, for the rest of this year and next, try to become one of those people whom someone will remember, years from now, and give thanks for you!
- Rev. Bill