I am not a shopping fan. Black Friday holds no attraction for me, no allure, no batting eyelashes drawing me to the stores.
I went to the mall on Black Friday.
A Question Never Before Posed to Me
We were in San Diego with family over Thanksgiving. Late Thursday night my wife asked how early I wanted to get up to go to the mall. This is most definitely not one of our annual conversations, because I’ve never gone to the mall the day after Thanksgiving. This year was different, though. There we were in San Diego and our son was able to join us for the holiday for the first time in a few years, and he wanted to hit the stores before they ran out of what he was looking for.
You might be thinking, Why did you need to get up to go with them? Good question.
Our son was staying at his sister’s apartment near her university, about 20 minutes from my in-laws’ house where we were staying. She was going to spend the day in Disneyland with her young cousin, so was leaving early herself in order to get there when it opened.* That meant we needed to pick up our son, since he came to town with us and did not have his own car. So I ended up setting my alarm and settled in for a few hours’ sleep. (For those readers with younger kids who look forward to the day when you will not be driving them around any longer, good luck with that.)
We awoke in the dark and drove through ground fog to pick him up. Our daughter was heading for the Happiest Place on Earth. We headed for the mall. With all the horror stories about how bad Black Friday is, I was surprised to see an empty parking lot. Seriously. We pulled into a parking spot 3 spaces from the front door of the department store.
They separated to find their stores while I went in search of coffee. There was a caffeine kiosk just outside the other end of the department store, so I ordered a bagel with cream cheese and a coffee, sat down with my book and iPad, and waited for my wife and son to summon me when ready to go. An hour later they did so and we left. The parking lot was barely more occupied than when we arrived.
My expectations of the Black Friday shopping experience went unmet.
This type of thing happens to me occasionally. It probably happens to you too. Getting worked up over nothing is a common pastime. Jesus warns against it:
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. (Matthew 6:34.)
Why do I worry about the unknown? There are doomsayers galore out there who try to convince me that all is lost. That’s what the reports about Black Friday shopping always say. And I bet there is partial truth to those reports, based on what I see on the news each holiday season. But there is complete truth in what God says:
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in humans. (Psalm 118:8.)
Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. (Proverbs 29:25.)
Whether it’s shopping hype put out by retailers eager for customers and news media eager for viewers or it’s predictions of doom and promises of deliverance peddled by the latest huckster, trusting humans and living in fear of worldly events is a fool’s game. God is our refuge, the one who keeps his people safe.
I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
What can mere mortals do to me? (Psalm 56:11, NLT.)
With God, Black Friday is past. He has brought his people – you and me and every one who ever has and ever will belong to him – into the eternal Sunday of Resurrection life in Christ.
No wonder we can trust him.
*It was her birthday the next day and this trip to Disneyland was our gift to her. Why I didn’t insist on going with them is a mystery.
[Jeannie over at Little House on the Circle brought some more wonderful insights to this discussion of apprehension and expectation. She claims that my post here moved her along in writing hers there. Woo-hoo for bloggers building off one another!]