Thanksgiving or Black Friday?



By Aaron Wolgamott

Thanksgiving is, of course, a day that we set aside to take a break from the busyness of life, spend time with friends and family, eat lots of food and enjoy one another’s company, and remember to be thankful for all that we have been blessed with. Personally, it is my favorite holiday…it involves a lot of food and football, so it’s a win-win!

Black Friday, though, is the next day. A day set aside to have crazy deals in stores all across America, leading many people to get up extremely early that day to be at the stores when they open so they can take advantage of as many deals as they can. This day has even begun to spill over into Thanksgiving Day as stores are opening earlier and earlier to accommodate all who come to the stores wanting these deals.

I have always found it ironic that Thanksgiving and Black Friday are back to back, because the purposes of these two days can be very opposite of each another. The intent of one is to be thankful for what we have, and the intent of the other is to get new things that we don’t have.

Now please don’t get me wrong here, this is not an anti-Black Friday post. I know that many use Black Friday as a time to get lots of Christmas gifts at good deals; so I’m not saying that it is an evil day in-and-of itself. There are other days and times of the year where stores have deals as well, and it’s not a bad thing to take advantage of that. Buying things on sale is a good way to save some money. So I’m not saying Black Friday is bad, I just find the comparison of these two days coupled with the fact that they are back to back to be ironic…and that irony is something that we can use to help us reflect on our own hearts during this time of year.

1 Timothy 6: 6-11 says:

“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.”

According to this passage, nothing good comes from pursuing gain and the desire to get more. It says that pursuing gain leads to falling into temptation and many senseless and harmful desires that lead to destruction.  It also says that the love of money leads to all kinds of evil.

On the other side, contrasted against pursuing gain and the desire to get more, we see that we as followers of Christ are to be content with what we have because we trust in God to provide (and we can’t take anything with us when we die). We see that we are to be content with food and clothing, and that we are to pursue Godly things: righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness.

We are to be content with God and thankful for all that he has given us, pursuing him in this life rather than all that this world can offer us. We can go shopping on Black Friday and have a heart of thankfulness—that is totally possible. We can also go through Thanksgiving and not be thankful at all. The real question we must all ask ourselves is, “Am I truly thankful for what I already have, or do I feel like I need just a little bit more in order to be happy?” It’s a tough question to ask ourselves, but it is a very important question that we need to be willing to reflect on.

Spend some time reflecting about this idea. Read through 1 Timothy 6:6-11 again on your own and spend time thinking and praying through what that passage is saying. What do you focus on and pursue in life? Which day would best define your focus: Thanksgiving or Black Friday? What can you do to ensure that you pursue God more than what the world offers?

May you have a truly thankful Thanksgiving Day as you reflect on all that God has done for you and how God has blessed you.