Now, I realize that our media can be driven by the sensational. I understand that the outlandish will make a far better story than the ordinary. But even realizing that it will be the most extreme stories of Black Friday that will make the news, I am stunned by what I have seen and heard.
You have probably heard too. On Friday, November 26 – a.k.a. Black Friday – shoppers crowded into stores as soon as the doors were opened. Many had been camping outside for hours if not days, ready to push, elbow, scratch and heaven knows what else in order to score a great deal on, I presume, Christmas presents. One woman used pepper spray in order to get an advantage on the crowd. There are stories of stampedes and even shootings. One grandfather was arrested for shoplifting after he had put an item he intended to purchase in his pocket. He had needed his hands free in order to help his grandson off the floor where he had fallen, for fear he would be trampled.
Even in the tamest places, people still feverishly battled their way to what must have seemed like really good deals. While I am certain the stories that make the news are the most extreme, hearing them makes me feel almost as if I have been trampled by the Black Friday crowd. The ethos is one of violence, giving us a new reason to call it Black Friday. It is a dark day indeed.
If we have to lose our humanity in order to gain a cheaper X-box, is it worth it? If we have to risk injury – or worse, injuring others – in an effort to buy a smart phone at a reduced price, is that cost not already too high? Is it worth contributing to this kind of chaos, in the name of Christmas, in order to buy a flat screen TV for a loved one?
I realize that some people depend on the deep price reductions of Black Friday in order to purchase items they might not otherwise be able to buy at all. Not everyone has the budget to make expensive electronics a part of their regular spending. But if purchasing an item on sale forces you to be a part of this lunacy, then – and here is a really radical notion – don’t buy it! No one needs a Nintendo DS that badly! I’ve heard tell there was once a time when no one owned a Kindle or a Nook. I believe, even in those primitive times, satisfaction could still be gained from life.
I realize I am ranting more than a bit here, but I am just stunned by the state of things that would cause otherwise good people to behave in this senseless way. And now the mayhem gets started on a day that is set aside for giving thanks.
The biggest question that is running through my mind is:
Was Jesus born for this?
Well, actually, the answer is yes. Jesus came to us in the midst of our insanity in order to save us from it. And maybe it is no surprise, given our sad human condition, that we let this precious birth be another excuse for more mayhem. But if this is what Jesus’ birthday has come to mean, then we have bigger problems than big box greeters wishing us Happy Holidays rather than Merry Christmas.
It is not enough to say “Keep the Christ in Christmas.” Christ isn’t in Christmas. Christ is Christmas! There is no other holiday – holy day – outside of the celebration of our savior coming into the world. If exchanging gifts helps you to honor the occasion, terrific! If camping outside stores is your thing, more power to you. But if, for a moment, you are tempted to forget the humanity of your fellow recipients of the saving grace ushered in by this season, forget it!
In considering a recipe to include for this post, I thought about vodka tonic or something similar, just to calm us all down. Instead, I’m including a traditional “recipe” from my family that helps to remind us that on December 25, we celebrate a miraculous birth – one that was heralded by angels.
May God bless you as you celebrate the season.
Angel Cookies1 roll sugar cookie dough
Refrigerate the cookie dough until just before using. It is helpful if the roll is firm.
Make ½ inch slices in the cookie dough. Make 2 diagonal cuts in each slice, starting at the top point then going to the left and the right. Separate the smaller pieces away from the main body. This makes the robe and the wings of the angel.
Cut another slice into fourths. Roll each piece into a small ball. Each one will be an angel head.
Assemble wings, robe and head, then decorate as desired. Cook according to package instructions.