It's been all over the news this last week. In Los Angeles a woman used pepper spray at a Walmart to ward off other shoppers who were hawking the half priced XBox 360 she came to purchase. Reporters say the woman had her children along as she executed her shopping strategy. One wonders what they will do when they become old enough to attend Black Friday sales by themselves? Will protective eye gear and gas masks become standard equipment for pre-Christmas shoppers?
A quick search on youtube.com portrays Black Friday at Walmarts throughout the country as a continuous night of mayhem. In Texas a woman, surrounded by dozens of other frenzied consumers, fell into a gigantic box as she tried to grab an armful of $1.28 towels. People were almost crushed in Little Rock, AK as rabid shoppers literally clawed at each other to come away with a $2 waffle maker. Such shopping intensity gives a new meaning to the words, "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas"!
The contrast between what goes on in stores and in Christian churches during the weeks before Christmas couldn't be more different. According to Christian tradition, Advent* is meant to be a season of solemn self-reflection and serious evaluation of the direction our lives are taking. The color of the season is purple which represents the need for penitence on our part. Penitence is the recognition of our sin and the need for Christ's coming to this earth to win forgiveness for us. One wonders how a time for penitence morphed into an excuse for using pepper spray to buy a XBox 360?
Which term best describes your Christmas preparations: pepper spray or penitence?
Join us this Sunday (December 4) at 10:00 am for some truly Christ centered Christmas preparations.
*The word Advent means "coming" and refers to the four weeks before Christmas when Christians prepare to celebrate Christ's first coming 2000 years ago and look forward to his second coming on Judgment Day.