I know that a lot of people just love venturing out on the day after Thanksgiving to trek through countless stores, scoping out the bargains, and buying bags and bags of *stuff.*
In fact, in 2014, $50.9 billion was spent during the 4-day Black Friday weekend – (yes folks, that's billion with a "B"). And, did you know, that figure is actually down 11% from the previous year?!
And have you noticed, the shopping extravaganza is starting earlier and earlier?
Now you can even go out on Thanksgiving Day!
Can you imagine that conversation around the pumpkin pie??
"Hey everyone, it's been a lot of fun. Don't mean to eat and run, but I've got places to go and twenties to spend…"
I don't know about you, but even if I considered going out shopping on Black Friday, I'm not sure I'd be physically capable of it.
I usually wake up in a tryptophan-induced fog of turkey stupor.
And somehow I don't think pajamas and slippers are acceptable shopping attire. (Though, if you're brave enough to go out in the middle of the night, they should be…)
Besides, leftovers, football, and naps all conspire to plant me firmly on the couch the entire next day. (Wanna know my secret leftover vice? Bowls of cold stuffing!)
So, though I probably won't be joining the Black Friday shopping mob, I am curious about how it all came about.
This is from Wikipedia:
"The day's name originated in Philadelphia, where it originally was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic that would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. Use of the term started before 1961 and began to see broader use outside Philadelphia around 1975. Later an alternative explanation was made: that retailers traditionally operated at a financial loss ("in the red") from January through November, and "Black Friday" indicates the point at which retailers begin to turn a profit, or are "in the black.")
So, to all you intrepid adventurers out there, you brave souls who dare to courageously joust for parking spaces, who fearlessly fight the crunch of crowds, and thrive on hustle and bustle…
I say, "Huzzah!"
I wish you good shopping, good bargains, and good luck.
But, whether you sit home stuffing your face (like me), or spend your day stuffing your car with packages, might I encourage all of us to remember something?
Long, long ago, there was another Black Friday.
And on that day the Greatest Transaction of all took place.
A momentous deal – in which one Life was traded for our sins.
The Gift is there for the taking, already paid for, bought and purchased, free.
All we need to do is accept the gift, and take it home.
Yes, fellowship, family, food, and fun are highlights of this special holiday.
And yes, if you enjoy shopping, this is a great time for that, too.
But, better than anything, is The Gift.
The Greatest Bargain of all!
The first Thanksgiving Day was all about our Almighty God, the Creator of everything, and the Giver of good blessings.
The focus of thanksgiving was correctly aimed at the One who is responsible for everything we have – including our very lives.
The correct view of things is that this is a day to give thanks to God.
God to whom we owe our hearts. God who gave His Son as a sacrifice for us. God who loves us beyond measure. God who gives us abundance in this life, and a hope for life everlasting!
The *deal of a lifetime* – a forever gift of grace – purchased with blood and freely given.
All wrapped up in Love.
the kingdom of heaven
is like a merchant
in search of fine pearls.
a single pearl
of great value,
he went and sold
all that he had
and bought it.
Salvation is priceless.
***(This next part is optional – just for fun!!)***
Here's some added trivia in case you need something to read while digesting the 10 pounds of food you just "stuffed" into your belly! (Or if you want to impress all those relatives with your scintillating knowledge of random and inconsequential facts. I've added a little commentary here and there to keep you awake):
1. Though many competing claims exist, the most familiar story of the first Thanksgiving took place in Plymouth Colony, in present-day Massachusetts, in 1621. (The Pilgrims wore their best black and white. The Indians wore…well, next to nothing).
2. The Wampanoag Indians were the people who taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate the land. The Pilgrim leader, Governor William Bradford, had organized the first Thanksgiving feast in 1621. He invited the neighboring Wampanoag Indians to the feast. (Perhaps he really took to heart the words of Jesus – "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22:39, ESV)
3. The first Thanksgiving celebration lasted three days. (Which is the average amount of time most people sleep after the Thanksgiving feast…)
4. Lobster, rabbit, chicken, fish, squashes, beans, chestnuts, hickory nuts, onions, leeks, dried fruits, maple syrup and honey, radishes, cabbage, carrots, eggs, and goat cheese are thought to have made up the first Thanksgiving feast. (Actually, that sounds pretty good! Guess I better start putting out my lobster traps…)
5. The pilgrims didn't use forks; they ate with spoons, knives, and their fingers. (In my family, this tradition often continues…)
6. Congress finally made Thanksgiving Day an official national holiday by passing a law on December 26, 1941, ensuring that all Americans would celebrate a unified Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November every year. (Was that the last time we were unified on anything in this country??)
7. Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird of the United States. (A bald turkey just isn't quite as majestic to me as a bald eagle… just sayin')
8. The average weight of a turkey purchased at Thanksgiving is 15 pounds. (Which feels like the amount I ate...let's not talk about the scale...)
9. The heaviest turkey ever raised was 86 pounds, about the size of a large dog. (Good grief. Can you even imagine?! Great Dane? Nothing compared to a Great Turkey…)
10. A 15 pound turkey usually has about 70 percent white meat and 30 percent dark meat. (Personally, I'm a dark meat fan – how about you?)
11. The five most popular ways to serve leftover turkey is as a sandwich, in stew, chili or soup, casseroles and as a burger. (I prefer not to serve any "leftover turkey" at my house. I usually just tell them to leave – "Uncle Joe, you turkey, you need to GO HOME NOW!")
12. Turkey has more protein than chicken or beef. (Didn't know that one…)
13. In the US, about 280 million turkeys are sold for the Thanksgiving celebrations. (Why do I always feel so sorry for the turkeys? Poor things. Delicious – but still...)
14. Each year, the average American eats somewhere between 16-18 pounds of turkey. (Do any of you eat turkey on other occasions? Or do you inhale that 16-18 pounds in one sitting??)
15. Californians are the largest consumers of turkey in the United States. (Doesn't surprise me – I've always thought my state was full of the most "turkeys" in the nation…)
16. Although Thanksgiving is widely considered an American holiday, it is also celebrated on the second Monday in October in Canada. (Hmmm…didn't know that one. Guess Canada has a lot to be thankful for, too!)
17. Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States, where it is the beginning of the traditional Christmas shopping season. (And, incidentally, the beginning of the traditional nervous breakdown season, outrageous debt season, and road rage mania season that sweeps this country. *This isn't true – I made it up…*)
18. The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimated that 46.6 million Americans traveled 50 miles or more from home over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2014. (Maybe this has something to do with the beginning of the aforementioned road rage phenomenon…)
19. Cranberry production in the U.S. is expected to reach 8.72 million barrels in 2014. Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington are the top cranberry growing states. (Gotta love cranberries – they're tart and tangy – just like me...)
20. Illinois, California, Pennsylvania and New York are the major pumpkin growing states. Total U.S. production was 1.3 billion pounds in 2014 – 17% above 2013. Illinois remains the leading producer of pumpkins, with a majority processed into pie filling and other uses. (Ever heard of the GNP? You thought it meant Gross National Product. Nope. Gourd National Product…)
21. U.S. sweet potato production reached a record high 29 million hundredweight (cwt) in 2014. Since 1971, North Carolina has been the top sweet potato producer in the United States, producing 53 percent of all sweet potatoes grown in the country last year. Other leading sweet potato producers included California and Mississippi. The top producing states together generated over 2.4 billion pounds of these tasty tubers. (I say po-tay-to. Do you say po-tah-to?? And is anyone old enough to remember the song that started that pronunciation battle? Oh, let's call the whole thing off.
The song, "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" was written by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin for the 1937 film "Shall We Dance" and was performed by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers as part of a celebrated dance duet on roller skates...)
22. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest pumpkin pie ever baked weighed 2,020 pounds and measured just over 12 feet long. It was baked on October 8, 2005 by the New Bremen Giant Pumpkin Growers in Ohio, and included 900 pounds of pumpkin, 62 gallons of evaporated milk, 155 dozen eggs, 300 pounds of sugar, 3.5 pounds of salt, 7 pounds of cinnamon, 2 pounds of pumpkin spice and 250 pounds of crust. (I don't care how big that thing was – I'm just not a fan of pumpkin pie. I think it's the texture or something. And don't even get me started on mincemeat pie. No, I'll take apple pie or some kind of berry pie instead, any day – in fact, why don't you slice me up a piece right now...)
23. So, why are you sleepy after a big turkey dinner? It's a combination of the type of food (carbs, fats, L-tryptophan), amount of food, and celebratory atmosphere. (Zzzzzzzz…)
Some verses to help you sing praises to our Almighty God, our Gracious Savior, and our Comforting Holy Spirit:
"Yours, O Lord,
is the greatness, the power,
the glory, the victory,
and the majesty.
Everything in the heavens
and on earth is Yours,
and this is Your kingdom.
We adore You
as the One who is over all things.
Wealth and honor come from You alone,
for You rule over everything.
Power and might are in Your hand,
and at Your discretion
people are made great and given strength.
O our God,
we thank You
and praise Your glorious name!"
(1 Chronicles 29:11-13, NLT)
"You have turned my mourning into dancing for me;
You have put off my sackcloth
and girded me with gladness,
To the end that my tongue
and my heart
and everything glorious within me
may sing praise to You
and not be silent.
O Lord my God,
I will give thanks to You forever."
(Psalm 30:11-12, AMP)
"He who offers
a sacrifice of thanksgiving
And to him who orders his way aright
I shall show the salvation of God."
(Psalm 50:23, NASB)
"It is good to praise the Lord
and make music to your name,
O Most High,
to proclaim Your love in the morning
and Your faithfulness at night...
For You make me glad by your deeds, O Lord;
I sing for joy at the works of Your hands.
How great are Your works, O Lord,
how profound Your thoughts!"
(Psalm 92:1-5, NIV)
"O come, let us sing unto the LORD:
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving,
and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
For the LORD is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the deep places of the earth:
the strength of the hills is his also.
The sea is his, and he made it:
and his hands formed the dry land.
O come, let us worship and bow down:
let us kneel before the LORD our maker."
(Psalm 95:1-6, KJV)
"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord,
all ye lands.
Serve the Lord with gladness:
come before His presence with singing.
Know ye that the Lord
He is God:
it is He that hath made us,
and not we ourselves;
we are His people,
and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
and into His courts with praise:
be thankful unto Him,
and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting;
and His truth endureth to all generations."
(Psalm 100, KJV)
"Because of the Lord's great love
we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
I say to myself,
'The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for Him.'
The Lord is good
to those whose hope is in Him,
to the one who seeks Him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord."
(Lamentations 3:22-26, NIV)
"Each one of you is part of the body of Christ,
and you were chosen to live together in peace.
So let the peace that comes from Christ
control your thoughts.
And be grateful.
Let the message about Christ
completely fill your lives,
while you use all your wisdom
to teach and instruct each other.
With thankful hearts,
sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.
Whatever you say or do
should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus,
as you give thanks to God the Father
because of Him."
(Colossians 3:15-17, CEV)
"Give thanks no matter what happens.
God wants you to thank Him
because you believe in Christ Jesus."
(1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV)
"Everything God created is good,
and to be received with thanks.
Nothing is to be sneered at and thrown out.
God's Word and our prayers
make every item in creation holy."
(1 Timothy 4:4-5, MSG)
So, what are you doing to celebrate Thanksgiving, and where will you be when you sit down to dinner?
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