Hard to believe another Thanksgiving has gone by, and the Christmas season is directly in front of us. I hope you had a wonderful day of family, food, and fun! Today, many of you are just coming back from some early (and I mean early!) Black Friday shopping, and others are getting ready to head out the door. I don’t really want to bring you down, but I do want to speak to your heart today!
We get so excited about Thanksgiving, and some of us are even more excited about Black Friday. While I definitely see the positive side of Black Friday (who doesn’t want to shop for 50-80% off!), I also see the other side of it –the side we tend to ignore, at least until the 6 o’clock news comes on, and we hear the stories of people literally being tramped over by the crowds rushing in the store to buy their child the latest and greatest toy. Ironic that we can be so thankful one day for all that we have, and then desperate the next day to buy, buy, buy.
Now, I realize that most folks are actually out there buying gifts for someone else, but the reality is they really love the hunt for bargains, to be able to say I got “this” for “this price.” But the gifts we give at Christmas should be reflective of the person who we are celebrating, shouldn’t it?
Now, in full disclosure, I have done some Black Friday shopping in my day, and I think when it is done with the right motives and by innocent hearts, it is a great thing and can be a lot of fun. But Black Friday shopping for me started looking like the temple in Jesus’ day, when they were bargaining and selling animals for sacrifice right there near the Holy of Holies with total disregard for the Lord (Matt. 21:12-13), and my excitement for it quickly changed.
I know, I know … I have burst the Black Friday bubble for some of you, and others have already turned away from this, but for those of you still reading, let me just share this with you.
I think we can agree that there is nothing that comes close to the love of Jesus, and we can’t buy that with money. My prayer for you this Black Friday is that your heart will be set ablaze with His love and His perspective by Christmas day, and that your gift giving this year will not only be generous, but truly reflective of Him.
As I was reading out of John this morning, I came across the passage below. Now, let me set the stage a little. Jesus had recently performed one of His greatest miracles, the raising of Lazarus from the dead, and the crowd is pretty pumped up. Now, He is entering Jerusalem right before Passover, and as He enters the city, people are laying out palm tree branches in front of Him and singing Hosanna (thus, we term this Palm Sunday). You can read the whole account in John 12.
And here is the passage that got me:
So the Pharisees said to one another, … “Look the world has gone after him.” John 12:19 ESV
That just stabs me in the heart! From the Pharisees perspective, they saw more and more people turning to Jesus, and in their frustration they describe the crowds as “the whole word.” But sadly, it wasn’t true in Jesus’ day, and it is not true today. If the whole world went after Jesus, life would be tremendously different! Wouldn’t you agree?
And so I come back to Black Friday. If people’s hearts were softened, and if they truly knew the gift of Christmas (and more importantly the gift of Easter), what would their lives (and ours) look like. If we could bottle up the excitement and thrill of Black Friday, those feelings that occur right before the store doors open, and make nonbelievers understand, this is the feeling an authentic relationship with Jesus brings, perhaps we could win others to Christ. If they knew that entering the doors of His kingdom meant they were going to get the best bargain they will ever find – eternal life with a FREE price tag- how their lives could change! Friends, I pray for this Black Friday, and for this season, that God would reign supreme in the hearts of all Christians, and that we would be the light in the darkness drawing all men to Him.
Would you join me in that prayer? Would you be counted among those who want the real meaning of the Christmas season (not what the world labels the ‘holiday’ season) to shine brighter than it has ever before? Time is not on our side, it is precious and should be used with care. I pray for you, and for me, that we use every minute to glorify Him because He.is.worth.it! If you believe that, share this post with your family and friends! Let’s get this Christmas season started right!
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Esp. 2:8-10 NLT
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.