During the greatest shopping weekend in the U.S. (and a vital part of the national economy - as 30-40% of retail shopping happens between black Friday and Christmas) we see some of the worst in humanity come out. With roughly $700B spent on Black Friday with an average of about $400 per person in 2015, unfortunately the sale floors of stores like Target and Walmart often turn into something like the stage of a bad Jerry Springer episode (and FYI, all Jerry Springer episodes are bad).
It seems to be a bit odd, and perhaps ironic, that the consumerism and greed that marks Black Friday comes on the heels of what is supposed to be a national holiday of giving thanks. Now don't get me wrong, I love a deal as much as the next guy, and I love me some techno gadgets too, but I see how the power of greed and consumerism can overshadow my gratitude.
We are taught from the Scriptures that we are to rejoice always and give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God's will for us in Christ Jesus (1 Thes 5:16-18) and yet the culture around us teaches us to get what we can while we can because it is what gives us happiness and meaning, a direct contradiction to the wisdom of Solomon who said that in all his observations, chasing after such things was a waste of time, a "chasing after the wind" (Ecc 2:10-11; c.f. Lk 12:18-21).
So how can we fight against the cultural tsunami, as well as the war that rages inside of us (Gal 5:17), to truly give thanks, and honor the heart of the Thanksgiving holiday in the first place?
Pause: pause and take a deep breath (literally take a deep breath right now), and give a prayer of thanks to God (Lk 11:13; Jas 1:17)
Keep It 💯: write down and journal 100 things that you are grateful for in your life currently (yes actually record them). This will help to push you to think more thoroughly about all that there actually is to be grateful for, rather than only being reminded by media how much you don't have. (if you can record 100 easily, try 200!)
Family Time: plan a family devotional with your family (or roommates) where you take some time to talk (and even write down) things you are grateful for this year as family, as well as one thing that you own that you are willing to part with in order to give it to someone that needs it more.