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November 25, 2017

Today many of you are still trying to make sense of the insane holiday ritual dubbed by the business community as “Black Friday”.  The day after Thanksgiving has been the official start of the Christmas shopping season for as long as we can remember, and the annual economic success of some stores depends on the sales generated in the 26 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.   Shoppers learned pretty quickly that there were limitations on the number of “door buster” items available, so the dedicated bargain hunters lined up in the stores hours before they opened.  Some camped out all night to be among the first in line to secure the scarce items.  When the doors opened there was often a chaotic rush to get into the store, and there have been cases of people who were seriously injured, and occasionally killed, in the stampede to get the bargain buys.  Some stores are now having “Pre-Black Friday” sales that begin Thanksgiving evening so that those who won’t get up early in the morning for a sale will be lured into the store.  The principle of Black Friday is a simple one, offer a limited number of tremendous bargains to get large numbers of people in the store and most will purchase items that they might not have otherwise bought. The goal is to get as many people into the store as possible to increase the potential sales.
Getting lots of people to sign on to things which will only benefit a few is the organizing principle of much of society.  For instance, one’s chances of winning the lottery is astronomical, but every day millions of people spend hundreds of millions of dollars in the hope that they might be the rare winner.  Millions more go to casinos where the house has the clear advantage.  Few people ever win, but hundreds of millions of dollars are spent daily in the hope of being one of the lucky few.  Even those who do not gamble will purchase magazines they won’t read in the hope that the Publisher’s Clearinghouse car will pull up in front of their house and declare them the winner of $5,000 a week for life.  Every day millions of people go to work at dead end jobs, and instead of trying to improve themselves to get a better job, they continue on in the hope that the boss will notice them and give them what they think they deserve.  Because America is a nation where people have literally risen from rags to riches, most are willing to take a chance, regardless of the odds, to achieve unusual prosperity or success.
God is in the business of trying to reach the masses, but unlike the stores, His “door-buster” specials are available to all people.  Salvation and blessings are not just for the fortunate few who have been outside the store and are the first in line.  He doesn’t have great bargains for the early birds and regular pricing for the rest of the crowd, His gifts are abundant, and they are for all who will receive them.  The real meaning of this month between Thanksgiving and Christmas is that it is a time when we are reminded that the Gift of God is free to all of us if we will receive it.  That is something to really be thankful for.

Verse of the Day

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10