They are taking away my Thanksgiving!
In preparation for the festivities next week, retailers are continuing the trend of who can open their store the earliest to snag the most shoppers competition. It has been going on for decades now, but until recently has seen opening times creep earlier with no plans to slow down. The majority of retailers appear to be opening on Thursday at 6:00pm and remain open through Friday evening! Macy’s and Best Buy are opening an hour earlier this year at 5:00pm and JCPenney at a record breaking 3:00pm Thanksgiving afternoon! You barely have any time to take a bite before rushing out the door.
Every year we hear the same argument. People lament the demise of Thanksgiving, already overlooked when retailers replace carved pumpkins and Halloween costumes for ornaments and red/green paraphernalia. Couple this with retailers having no regard for Thanksgiving day itself, and the ever so small but very likely chance you could be trampled to death in pursuit of that awesome 4K TV deal, that many will cry foul.
Here we end up villain-izing these retailers while praising others like Costco – who will open at a godly hour Friday morning, to REI – who will pay their employees to not shop on Friday after Thanksgiving and spend time outdoors with their family. We make heroes of retailers who take a stand and restrict open hours during Thanksgiving, while scorning those who appear to have no moral stance.
In defense of such retailers, would they have a reason to open earlier on Thanksgiving if there was no demand? It would not make much market sense to spend millions of dollars on labor if managers knew that sales could be low. Yet look at pictures before stores open at these earlier times. There are still people lined up!
Furthermore, even if stores decide to open early/remain closed, it is entirely up to you to decide whether you will enjoy Thanksgiving with family and/or friends. If JCPenney opens at 3:00pm, and you are choosing to have dinner at 5:00pm, you do not have to change dinner so you can take advantage of deals. You are in control of what you choose to do.
What does this talk have to do with a church blog post? Going back to earlier marks about making heroes of retailers who choose to remain closed at prime shopping times over Thanksgiving, as Christians we have been blessed with a time where we can close up many shops and enjoy doing service for others. Yes, it is called the Sabbath, a time to relax and remember who Jesus is and what He has done for us. It is a time to reprioritize and recalibrate our focus in this life. However, many of us question why God would “restrict” us from enjoying life by making us take a specific day of the week off? We approve retailers that do it once a year. Why not be thankful to God for provisioning time to relax and remember during our hectic lives?
This year, we are thankful to God for the Sabbath. We are thankful that the Sabbath is not a rule, but a benefit to us. As Mark 2:27 says:
The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath
This Thanksgiving, before you start looking into the Black Friday deals for a chance to stretch your dollars, take a moment, and relax. Be grateful for the many things that God has done for you this year. And while we look forward to holidays for time off to relax, as Christians we have been blessed with 52 additional holidays each year. Let us take advantage of that time to spend with Jesus and make things right with our brothers and sisters in the family of God.