Christmas is here! Good Friday Deal Inside!

Posted: November 28, 2011 in Christmas Series, Spirituality

Christmas time is here again, and the cynic in me can’t help but lament how we chose to kick things off. The way one begins things often determines how you finish it. Christmas is, ostensibly, about giving gifts to each other to mirror the gift that God gave. But does our Christmas day gift-giving to one another truly do justice to God’s idea of what it means to give a gift?

Juxtaposing Black Friday and Good Friday led me to some thoughts on this question, and I would love to hear yours so comment away. Now I know, I’m jumping ahead seasons, but if you’re in the liturgical calendar it’s all leading up to Good Friday anyway so we might as well follow the trail.

If you have ever worked in customer service, Black Friday is a day from hell. Maybe the first or third level if you work on commission, mind you, but still hell. On Black Friday we push and shove, scramble and frustrate ourselves… it’s like a riot for all things mammon. Everyone crowds the stores and drives themselves crazy looking for beautiful gifts to give our loved ones so they know we love them – or maybe we just do it because it is expected of us. We do all this in the hope that, after the fiasco you call a wrapping job, that the person you gifted will open it, their eyes will light up, a smile breaks out, and they throw their arms around you and say thank you thank you as everyone sips hot apple cider and sings carols around the Christmas tree.

How quaint. May I argue, ever briefly, against that picture of what Christmas is about?

We purchase our gifts on Black Friday, but God gave his gift on Good Friday. Now the gift God gave was wrapped in the most beautiful and awe-inspiring wrapping, yet upon opening it you find something like what Isaiah described: nothing beautiful or majestic, nothing to attract you, only some… one… to be despised and rejected, sorrowful, acquainted with grief. This is a kind of gift most would despise, toss to the side, and choose to forget about.

The problem with Black Friday is it starts us out on the wrong foot. We strive so hard to find the “good” gift that the world promises us we need, and are in such a frenzy to find it it blinds us to the good gift God gave that is right in front of us. The gift of God is wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger, meek and mild, crying softly – yet when fully opened it is a gift wrapped in a torn, blood soaked cloth, hanging on a cross, bruised and beaten, crying out “It is finished”. If you read the rest of Isaiah 53 you will find that the gift looks so pitiable because we are: “Yet it was our weakness he carried… he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins… but it was God’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief.. his life is made an offering for sin.” Jesus the child becomes Jesus crucified. And we anticipate and celebrate this because Jesus crucified is the beautiful gift of God.

We may not do justice to God’s good gift, but we can always accept the good gift of God, believing his word that Jesus crucified is the final offer for our sin. The Good Friday deal is infinitely better than any Black Friday deal you will ever see. Question is, will you rush over to God to get his gift for you?

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live.” Isaiah 55:1-2

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Comments
  1. R.A. says:

    Not to comment on my own entry… but the HuffPo Psycho-Meter has a funny part about Black Friday craziness: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/03/the-psychometer_n_1127074.html?ref=comedy

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