Black Friday                                                                                                                                 Andy Hollifield 11-25-16

It is Black Friday. One day after many people in this country enjoyed a day of football and a tryptophan induced semi coma following a big turkey dinner. The one day of the year when store hours actually become a top news story. Also this year, Black Friday means that it is exactly ONE MONTH TILL CHRISTMAS! The day you find out if all of your Black Friday efforts actually pay off. Today also marks the official beginning of the Christmas season. The time of year when we actually try to demonstrate the charitable attitude that, if we had the rest of the year, the world would be a much better place. If you are reading this now, you are most likely like me and avoided the craziness by staying home or are in recovery mode trying to recuperate. Whatever the case, I want to issue a warning: It is the “season of giving” not the “season of getting”. It really is the thought that counts. I have found out that if we focus on “giving” the perfect gift, it makes this season and even the shopping much more enjoyable and memorable. I still have gifts that were perfect at the time they were given and I still recall the jubilation I felt as the last piece of paper was torn away and the perfect gift became visible! I remember one Christmas, probably in my late teens, finding a card on the tree with my name on it attached to a string that I followed through the house to mom and dad’s closet to find a “mac-daddy” weight bench that was too heavy to wrap and put under the tree. I don’t still have that bench but the memory of that morning with my family and mom’s creativity will last a lifetime. It sounds like I am focused on “getting” but I said that to make a point; anyone that has given the perfect gift knows the “nailed it” feeling that you get upon seeing someone’s reaction.

Beyond Black Friday and turkey dinners and football is “the reason for the season”. THE “perfect gift” Jesus Christ himself. Thirty three plus years after he was given, “nailed it” was more than just a feeling it became fact. God had given his Son as stated in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave…” and his Son gave his life for us. 1 John 3:16 says ” Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us:…”. Isn’t it interesting that in John 3:16 it speaks of God’s love for us and in 1 John 3:16 it speaks of Christ’s love for us. The same number of chapter and verse. Coincidence; you decide. Jesus Christ was “nailed” to a cross for crimes he hadn’t done, for my sins and yours. Revelation chapter 5 tells us that a search was made in heaven, in the earth, and beneath the earth for a “worthy” individual to be the sacrifice for our sin that could reconcile us back to fellowship with God by providing forgiveness for our sin. The writer goes on to tell us that he saw in the midst “stood a lamb as it had been slain” which had been identified earlier as ” the Lion of the tribe of Juda” that had prevailed. Slain lambs can’t stand but this one did! Why? Because he was and is still the “perfect gift”! Given by God to be the “propitiation” for our sin; the very definition of love ( 1 John 2:2).

So in closing I want to say that I hope each of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and remembered what it was supposed to be about. As a matter of fact, one more thing to be thankful for; today marks the actual end of the Revolutionary War in 1783. The day the last British soldiers left the city of New York nearly three months after the treaty of Paris was signed officially ending the war and giving birth to this wonderful country that we call home. As far as the “perfect gift” is concerned, we may give great gifts and “nail it”, but the “perfect gift” has already been given. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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