Are You Inspired by Black Friday?

It’s never seemed to be a very inspiring name for a day that is the unofficial beginning of the Christmas season.

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Happy Black Friday everyone!

Is that appropriate to say?

Frankly it’s never seemed to be a very inspiring name for a day that is the unofficial beginning of the Christmas season, Advent notwithstanding. More specifically today marks the commercial kick-off to the holidays. It’s when people storm the country’s biggest retailers looking for bargains, often lining up at three in the morning waiting for the doors to open then rampaging through the aisles like a herd of panicked cattle. I believe there have been years when shoppers have actually been trampled to death. Or close to it, I think. I know that the word black was originally a reference to the stores’ bottom lines; for a lot of retailers this was the make or break day in terms of whether they would have a profitable selling season. And there is nothing wrong with that, especially in this economy. If it means more jobs then bring it on.

In fact stores are getting better at handling the frenzied horde of consumers to minimize the chaos and madness. And increasingly Americans are more comfortable shopping online, giving them more time to spend with their families this weekend. I know people who use today to do volunteer work instead of shop. I’ve also heard of church groups who join the mad rush to buy sale toys for kids in homeless shelters and group homes. 

Still, can we change today’s name to something better than Black Friday? Something a little more uplifting and a little less ominous? Does anyone have any ideas? It’s a little dispiriting to see endless news footage of shoppers getting into fistfights over the latest video game release. Especially after the day when we celebrate our gratitude for the material and spiritual gifts in our lives. What would you call the day after Thanksgiving and how much shopping are you doing today?

In case you are shopping, I have a suggestion. There is still time to order The Joys of Christmas 2010, a full-size, beautifully illustrated special keepsake from the editors of Guideposts overflowing with inspiring holiday stories and Christmas devotionals you love, Mysterious Ways, sacred poetry, angels, prayers, reader recipes and the family stories behind them, and the true spirit of the season, a season we too often forget is a holy season. The Joys of Christmas was a huge hit with readers last year. This year’s is even better. It’s the perfect gift for yourself and the people you love and hold dear. Avoid the shopping stampede at the mall. Order now in time for Christmas delivery. 

Meanwhile have a good Black Friday.

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