Observing the back-to-back events of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday makes my head spin. In a dizzying instant, we flip the switch from giving thanks for what we have to the scramble to get some more.
What does that say about our culture?
What does it say about the allegiances of our souls?
While our turkeys were still warm, retailers opened their doors in hopes of having them busted down. (By the way, when did the term “doorbuster” become ubiquitous? Surely there are highly paid advertisers who can come up with other creative terms for a big sale. Or maybe not.)
Shopping on the day after Thanksgiving is a time-honored tradition for many families. Wonderful. If you enjoy it, go for it! But there seems to be ever-increasing emphasis on the amount of money changing hands on Black Friday while treating Thursday’s Thanksgiving as little more than the starting line for door-busting shopping.
Thanksgiving weekend is an illuminating snapshot of competition between our spiritual roots and the super-sized canopy of commercialism that has grown from them in our rich American soil.
Even allowing that our roots were probably not as “Christian” as we might imagine, it is undeniable that the United States has a long and strong history of faith. In earlier times, families gave sincere thanks to God because they recognized their dependence on Him. There was no other safety net. Today, however, many Americans depend on their jobs, a strong economy, investments, or the government, and it’s simply not as obvious from whom their blessings come.
Cultural pressure to seek material gratification and economic prosperity leads many Americans to bust through doors that lead nowhere. Fewer will open the doors of their hearts to the gentle knock of the One who offers genuine security and satisfaction, now and forever.
We each answer to one desire or the other; it is impossible to serve both.
To whom, or to what, have you given your soul?
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14