Yes, after months of silence I have returned with a post. My apologies for such a delay, my personal life has kept me extremely busy these past few months. Between travel, moving into a new house, school, recording for a friends album and general life things I’ve had difficulty in finding the time to get a post up. Not to mention that I’ve also had a difficult time thinking of what to actually post! Not to fear, for I think I have something here. (See what I did there?)
If you’ve followed the news or just keep in general touch with topics that run through the headlines, then I’m sure you’ve been hearing all about many big retail stores opening there doors for Thanksgiving for early shoppers. Here’s my advice – Don’t go.
“Oh Tim, why don’t you get a grip, it’s really no big deal” you say. But alas I think it is a very big deal.
There’s little to no surprise that consumers drive the holiday shopping season. To an extent, it makes complete sense. People buy gifts during Christmas, and black friday is a yearly tradition for some. Now for the sake of transparency let me admit that I think black Friday is a ridiculous idea. To see people lined up for hours to get their hands on a super cheap tv or whatever other fancy object they’ve been dying to buy I think is a complete waste of time. Why? Because we are talking about stuff…things…you know, items that won’t matter in a few years. People actually rush the stores, cut in line, get into fights and argue with employees all over…..stuff. These things don’t breathe life, they don’t actually live, they just exist for the sake of pleasing us. So we flock to the stores like cattle all for the name of a good deal.
Anyway, that’s not the point of this post. The point is to explain why I think stores opening up on Thanksgiving for shoppers is a bad idea and why as Christians we should stay out of stores and stay in with family..
I realize that we live in a consumer driven society. I (like most people) am not immune to the fact that I at times, have to go out and purchase something that I want or need. I wanted my Nintendo Wii U so I purchased one. I needed a pair of jeans (my last pair ripped), so I went out and purchased them. This is the way our society works. Is it flawed? Sure, but it’s what we got, and slowly people are becoming more intentional shoppers, purchasing from companies that do things ethically, not just in the name of the lowest price (yes, I’m looking at you Wal-Mart).
I say all that so I can say this; as Christians we have a duty to be responsible consumers. It is our responsibility to view our lives through the lens of Christ, not just hot button issues that the Christian culture pushes. It’s a shame honestly, that the Christian culture is so willingly accepting of greed, over the top consumerism, and blindly supports massive companies that don’t treat its workers fairly.
When it comes to Thanksgiving, the day that Americans take time out of their work schedules, their normal schedules and gather around family, or people in their life that are equivalent to family and eat, and talk, and share a good meal. It’s a day of rest, it’s a day of feasting, and it’s a day of remembering all that you have and how blessed we are to live in such a country. This also goes for employees of retail stores. They deserve the same day that most of us get. A day around family, without worrying about going into work later to face hordes of self-centered consumers who put more value on the stuff their trying to buy than the human being God created standing right in front of them. If anything I would like to see the Church protesting companies forcing their employees to work on Thanksgiving (For those of you who don’t think they are being forced, you’ve clearly never worked retail).
I’m not here to belabor my point but I’ll end by asking this; When is enough, enough as a society? When do we draw the line with the materialism and consumerism in our culture? How many things do we need to go out and buy before we realize that you can’t buy family, people, or happiness? We might say that people are most important but when it comes to our actions we so often put stuff above them. We get mad at the employee who is slow to check us out, we fight over the last item on the shelf, and we get mad when that guy takes our parking spot. In many cases our beliefs do not match up with our actions and as followers of Jesus it is more important than ever that they do.
Spend time this Thanksgiving with people, not with stuff. Happy Thanksgiving!