I didn’t want to cloud up and storm on such a wonderful day as Thanksgiving. Ok, so Thanksgiving has been over for almost two hours now so I can vent like the combined winds of Sandy and Katrina. Black Friday has achieved a hue of darkness the likes of which one might not have thought possible. For 71 years the fourth Thursday in November has been set aside for peaceful reflection and Thanksgiving. It was intended as a day appointed for friends and family to gather and reflect on our many God-given blessings and to enjoy the pleasure of one another’s company. Since Halloween has supplanted Thanksgiving as the harbinger of the Christmas season I can now enjoy the peace of Thanksgiving as a long weekend of rest, reflection and, in short, Sabbath. Right?
Nooooo! Black Friday reared its evil head over the course of several years, instigating our insane practice of waking up before the earth begins her daily spin followed by a mad dash to the Church of Retail propagating the gospel of consumerism and joining countless proselytes worshipping at the altar of the golden calf. Once upon a time I understood this and even attended one or two of these pre-dawn catechisms. But now, the sanctity of giving thanks has given way to the tyranny of retail mania beginning as early as 8:00 pm on Thanksgiving Day. THANKSGIVING DAY ITSELF! However, lest one be unaware these holy institutions don’t open their doors on Thanksgiving, no, no, no. According to the advertisements they open on “Thursday”. “Thursday” has been introduced as an innocuous term referring to the day before Black Friday as if it were any other shopping day and not the Holy holiday that we enjoy and celebrate with our loved ones. It appears that the blackness of Friday has now invaded the light of Thanksgiving Day and crazed consumers every where can now begin their electronics department fistfights while the enlightened give thanks for the bargain basement prices they encountered in Thursday’s newspaper ads. Prayers of Thanksgiving are now offered with one eye open lest “Cousin Annie” gain the advantage of a head start to Wal-Mart.
Stop the madness! The thought briefly crossed my mind of running for office on the platform of regulating this sacrilegious and family-destructive ritual. Fortunately, sanity ultimately ruled the day as the ridiculous notion of me running for, much less assuming, public office would inspire even the Almighty to double over in raucous laughter. But what recourse do we have? Can anyone thwart this absurdity? Not likely. As I write this, I have loved ones attending a midnight store opening; saving them from the need to rise at 4:00 am for the pre-dawn craziness.
I urge everyone within shouting distance; please don’t let crass consumerism dilute the power of quiet family communion. Resist the sirens’ call to compromise family devotion for a paltry thirty pieces of silver. Eat turkey and sleep!