It’s been kind of quiet on here of late. Which is sort of funny because it has been a bit noisy in my head. All kinds of half written blog post and some maybe funny or maybe not funny three sentence quips or random questions that have popped into my head, that kind of thing.
Like when I heard that you can now order your McDonald’s and have it ubered to you. Actually I think my thought process was a bit more, “Wait, why would you…Really? No. Surely no one does this. Does someone actually do this?”
I’m still confused that it is even a thing. I mean, I can kind of see getting sushi this way because it’s sushi but a big mac? Really? And before someone brings up pizza or other take out, stop. It’s take out. Completely different.
I was also curious about the history of Black Friday. The original Black Friday dates all the way back to 1869 and the crash of the gold market. Turns out two financial gurus of the day decided to buy up large amounts of gold in the hopes of causing the price to skyrocket at which time they would sell and make a huge profit. Things didn’t go exactly as planned though and it caused the market to crash and left many of the Wall Street tycoons broke.
The next time the phrase was used in connection with the post Thanksgiving Day weekend was in the 1950s in the city of brotherly love when the number of visitors and tourist would swell due to the Army Navy football game. Apparently the event was such a headache to the police, having to work overtime, causing traffic jams and petty crime rates to soar, that they dubbed it Black Friday. Despite the effort of some area merchants who would try to put a more positive spin on the annual event by called it Big Friday, it wouldn’t be until 1966 that the term Black Friday would appear in print in connection with a sales ad. By the 1980s the term was more commonly known across the country as the kick off to holiday shopping.
So if you were ever curious about the origin of the holiday retail spree, now you know. And if you braved the madness I hope you got some really greta deals.
I have been oddly excited about the holidays in general and Advent in particular. I love Christmas time, don’t get me wrong, and I am happy to usher in these days each year. But I have always had some hard and fast rules about Christmas music, decorating and such. Things being done decently and in order, blah blah blah. Mainly because I hate being overwhelmed by the noise and stuff of it all. Honestly, I am most excited at this point with Advent. Maybe it’s partly because the first Sunday of Advent falls on December 1st this year and there is something in my soul that delights in the beginning of something on the beginning of the month.
I think it is also because I feel like I am coming out of a bit of a fog. A quasi depression I guess. I’ve still functioned and carried on but I feel like there has been a heaviness in my being. As we decorated the church in preparation for Sunday I felt myself stirring, looking forward to marking the dawning of the light, the reminder that the King has come and will come.
As providence would have it Rob did a three part sermon on suffering that has been timely. One of the things from last week’s sermon that struck me was the idea that we are too easily satisfied with good instead of what’s best, content with comfort, money, and a peace that is not peace. There is suffering in our world and real genuine suffering will come to all of us in varying degrees probably more than once. Learning to embrace those seasons is when we truly come to the end of ourselves and find that God is there and truly sufficient.
The gift of the arrival of Jesus shines in the future even as we prepare to look back. My heart and mind are relaxing in this truth even as I acknowledge that it is at the same time completely incomprehensible and impossible. What is needed most, what I need most, is to be reminded that in the midst of normal everyday life an angel appeared to a normal everyday girl and announced that God was stepping into physical time and space. The answer to the suffering of the world, to the brokenness, to sin and darkness, disease and death, was found in an infant. It is fitting to feel a certain amount of groaning over the not yetness of our world but it is tempered- it must be tempered- by our hope in the alreadyness of what God has done.*
God with us.
He has come!
Nine letters arranged into three simple words that changed the world then and, lest we forget, are still changing the world…changing us.
Yesterday we sang one of my favorite Christmas hymns in church and the words became a prayer,
To free your captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
To you shall come Emmanuel
Our hope is not that all of our problems will be fixed. Our hope is that Emmanuel has come and will come again.
*Also from Rob’s sermon.