Boycott Black Friday.
In 2011, Americans spent some 52 billion dollars on Black Friday, a 16% increase over the previous year. Some 226 million shoppers shopped online and in stores, many of them lining up at midnight, even camping out, for “deals.”
From now until after Christmas, we are going to be bombarded with advertisement, telling us that we need an Ipad, the latest car, the latest fashion.
We are told, hundreds of time every day, to buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have.
Boycott Black Friday.
There are some items that families actually need.
But most of what we are told to buy are not “needs,” they are simply “wants.”
They are cravings, not essentials. Most of what is sold in stores is in fact not essential items.
The inability to distinguish between need and want is something that corporations rely upon to earn their profits, 40% of which is often made up during the “Holiday Season.”
There is a bare minimum (shelter, food, clothing, medicine) that all of us need. Beyond that, it easily turns into vanity, craving, ego, want.
There is a consumer “high” that comes along with shopping, and shopping around for the best deals.
The “high” is not unlike the craving of drugs, or sex-addiction, or alcoholic binges.
We search, fingers trembling, trying to find an item for a dollar cheaper here or there.
So often the urge to buy and buy, consume more and more, is simply an indication of a missing part of our own hearts.
It might be a missing relationship, an intimacy that is lacking in our lives.
It might be a spiritual void, a yearning for a real relationship with God.
And it cannot and will not be filled by hoarding things.
You are obsessed by greed for more and more
until you go down to your graves
The sad mantra we are given is almost one of “I consumer therefore I am.”
No, indeed no.
You are because you are a beautiful child of God.
You are because someone loved you.
You are because of the intimate human relations you hold.
You are because you see your own humanity as connected to thehumanity of others.
This year, this Black Friday, resist the urge to consume, to hoard more and more things.
Reach out in compassion to those who might be in need around you, or around the world.
Reach out to the victims of Sandy, who are still in need.
Reach out to the victims of Gaza, who are still in need.
Reach out to your local shelter.
What you may find is not a thing, but a connection, a reaching out, a projection of the “I” into the Thou.
In alleviating the suffering of another, you may just find that craving part of your own heart fulfilled, God-willing.
Do not chase after things.
Value Connections, relationships, moments, Time.
Spend time with those who bring out the best and most beautiful in you, and those that deserve your best and most generous.
This is a season of giving thanks, the time to remember the suffering of humanity (Ashura, in Islamic calendar), and preparing to welcome Christ into this world (for Christians).
Cleanse the temple.
Don't fill it with junk you don't need, paid for with money you don't have.