Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Tuesdays Transformed

Shine or Whine?

"And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,"made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ." 2 Corninthians 4:3-5

Thanksgiving is almost here. Many of us are in the kitchen baking pies and breads, sprucing up the house, getting ready for company, or packing our bags to visit relatives out of town. For most of us, Thanksgiving is a time of sharing with family and friends and enjoying delicious, traditional food. It is also a time for the biggest shopping day in the United States- Black Friday.

Black Friday is the day retailers across America are no longer in "the red," ringing up profit totals that are astronomical. Many stores open as early as 6:00 AM and these opening times seem to get earlier every year. People gather outside of malls and shopping centers before the doors open, sipping hot coffee and drooling at the discounts that await them inside. A lot, if not most, of these shoppers are women.

Did you read that? A lot of these shoppers are women. Imagine the consumer power that gives us, ladies. I won't go into what we should buy, what we shouldn't buy, what stores to shop, and which stores to boycott. That would be dipping into the pool of legalism. And, frankly, swimming in the pool of legalism will leave you breathless as you try to keep your head above water. (I am so thankful for Grace, aren't you?)

Everyone has to decide which clothing they will buy or which store they will patron. Those decisions are between them and The Lord. One thing we can all remember is that we are to be a Light for Christ amid the madness.

It's hard to be a light when the lady behind you keeps grumbling about the line, or the woman in Wal-mart nearly knocked you down while you reached for a TMX Elmo (that is just an example. It will never happen. All of the TMX Elmo's are gone.) It is very difficult to shine when you get to the register and the sale item rings up at regular price. Never mind that the clerk doesn't believe you and she takes what seems like forever (while the lady behind you grumbles) to look up the price in the sale circular.

I really want to shine, Lord. I do.

When my daughter starts to complain that she is tired and hungry and all I want to do is scream, "CAN'T YOU WAIT FOR A HAPPY MEAL?!" I really want to shine.

When the store management refuses to acknowledge Christmas in their display or allow their employees to wish me a Merry Christmas, I really want to shine. It is hard to shine while you are indignantly complaining to middle management.

I want to shine for You, Lord. I do.

Help me remember that the clerk was already at work while I was crawling out of bed this morning. She has been barked at by rude customers at least a hundred times before it was even my turn in line. She has neither the desire nor the responsibility to memorize every single sale item in this store. Lord, give me the encouraging words You would have me say to her this morning. Give me a smile, Lord, because right now the humanness in me does not feel like smiling.

Lord, remind me that the lady behind me in line is human, just like me. She may be a believer. She may be lost. Help me to be kind and patient.

God, I have no idea why that lady nearly trampled me while I was simply trying to buy the most popular toy of the season. In any case, help me forgive her, brush off the dust from my knees and hold pressure on the head wound she gave me. Help me love her, because I sure can't do it on my own.

Lord, I understand why retailers are hesitant to display any religion in this over sensitive, politically correct world. Help me to express my faith and conviction in love, but to hold my ground and stand for what is right in Your Eyes. Help me to know the difference between conviction and judgementalism. I never want to be a stumbling block.

Lord, when my daughter is tired and hungry from a long day of shopping, help me remember that she is part of the reason I am out here in the madness. And maybe Mommy needs a Happy Meal, too.

God, help me make wise choices while shopping, to be a good steward of what you have given me. Help me to understand that the purchases I make may have a profound impact on what retailers choose to sell in the future.

Lord, I want to Shine for You this Thanksgiving and every other day. Help me. Guide me. Teach me. Help me Shine!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Have a safe and happy time wherever you are.

In Christ,


Anonymous said...

"And maybe Mommy needs a Happy Meal, too."

Oh! (hand waving in the air)

AND a NAP!!! Don't forget the NAP!!!


Thanks for helping me to remember that EVERYONE needs kindness...especially on Black Friday!

Tammy said...

Great post, Melanie!

As you know, I posted on stepping away a bit from the craziness of the season ...but we can't escape it completely. This was a great reminder that we don't have to succomb to all the stress when we do have to go out there in it!

(And my house doesn't have to be perfect Thursday morning, right?)

Happy Thanksgiving! :)

Anonymous said...

I may be the only person I know who avoids shopping on Black Friday. My daughters are lobbying to change that, however. One thing that always makes me smile when the stores are crowded is the thought that the longer the line is, the longer I get to keep my money.

Shine on!

Linda said...

Yes, Black Friday is difficult. I've worked a little bit in retail, and it's no fun. You gave us new direction on changing perspectives.

Big Mama said...

Great post and a great reminder to let our light shine.

Happy Thanksgiving, Melanie!

By the way, I noticed the outlet malls near us are opening at midnight. Is that crazy?

Susanne said...

Beautiful Melanie! We don't have Black Friday here but I could do well to remember this on any shopping day in the next month!

Grafted Branch said...

I wouldn't touch Black Friday with a ten-foot pole! Especially not with my whirly birds...your children's mom is braver and better than my children's mom! :) lol.

Mommy Dearest said...

Amen, sister! Great post!