Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.


Happy day after Thanksgiving!  Now that Thanksgiving Day is over, we are called and challenged to continue to live with thanksgiving in our hearts. This is not as easy as we would like it to be.


While some of us are still digesting turkey and getting ready to watch the next football game, some in our midst have their Christmas decorations up and they have shopped for and secured the best deals they could find on Black Friday. Black Friday gets its name because the amount of merchandise sold helps retailers move from operating in the red (losses) to the black (profits). Some retailers even started their Black Friday sales yesterday on Thanksgiving.


I do not want to get preachy about what one should or should not be doing today.  I once spent 5 hours outside a Best Buy waiting to purchase an X-Box. They ran out right before I could secure one for my family.  I don’t want to let you know what I was thinking when the folks in front of me let some neighbors jump in line with them.  I noticed there was some commotion in the front of the line when something similar occurred.


I was proud that I spent that much time trying to get what I thought was the perfect gift for my sons. I was ashamed that I spent 5 hours waiting in a line rather than spending that time with my family.


The truth is that there is no retailer who has that perfect gift for you, or me, or any of our loved ones.  We know that perfect gift was given to us long ago, wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.  We know that perfect gift paid our debts on a different Black Friday, a day we know as Good Friday.  And he conquered death for us all by rising on Easter.


There you have it: Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter all in one First 15.  Let’s not jump the line (ahead) too quickly.  We need to be present today, in this moment.  As Matthew reminds us: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself,” (Matthew 6:34).  “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well,” (Matthew 6:33).


Loving God,

Thank you for the blessing of this day.  As we quickly move from getting ready for Thanksgiving to getting ready for Christmas, help us to stay in the moment.  Help us to appreciate the gift of each day, and the opportunities it provides for each of us to grow closer to you.  AMEN.