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November 26, 2011

OccupyAdvent: Black Friday


Black Friday  and came went. There have certainly been millions of people occupying (keeping in line with the  OccupyAdvent movement) their local stores looking for the best deals. My wife and I actually were a couple of those people in the midst of the craziness. It’s not for everyone, that’s for sure. If you have never been before, you ought give it a whirl at least once in your life - if only to marvel at the phenomenon. You’ll get a picture of just how important consumer goods are to us, and you’ll get a better understanding of how our economy is made up of 70% consumerism. Let me give you a mental picture of what it is like: grocery shopping at Meijer (or your big, local grocery store) on a Sunday afternoon (crazy right?), now take that picture, multiply the crowd by 10 (or 100), and then imagine all those people amped up on adrenaline and cranky from being up way past their bedtime and all going after the same item on the self - that’s Black Friday.

I read an email from Apple this morning advertising their One Day Only sale: “The day you’ve waited 364 days for.” “Really?” I thought to myself. Have I really waited all year for this one glorious day of price-cuts from Apple? Has my year been spent in anxious anticipation of this one day to buy an iPod touch for $178 compared to the regular $199 selling price? Not really, even for as much I love Apple products (this entry was typed on my MacBook, edited on my wife’s iMac and viewed from my iPhone 4S), I have not waiting 364 days for a price-cut from Apple.

Yet, for many people, Black Friday may be the only day they will make the large, expensive purchases they do. They knew the day was coming, they prepared by saving up the money, and they planned and executed the detailed shopping trip. The point is, there are many people who actually wait all year for this one day. I don’t actually see anything wrong with that either. It’s sort of fun and it ends up saving hundreds of dollars for people willing to brave the craziness.

Do Black Friday shoppers have a thing or two to teach us believers about Advent? They really know how to prepare for a big event! How are you preparing for this holy season? What are thinking about? Are you reading anything? Are you going to church? Do you notice changes in your church community centered around Advent? How does your mindset or your life-rhythms change? How do you celebrate and stay mindful of this time of year?
Scripture tells us, “Prepare the way of the Lord” (Matt. 3:3), and Jesus reminds us, “Look, I’m coming again soon” (Rev. 22:12). May you take this Advent season to prepare your hearts and minds for the Advent of our Lord.  

 

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