Photo by Kevin Dowling on Unsplash

Perhaps it’s fitting that as we shift our gaze from abundant harvests and gratitude-steeped Thanksgiving tables towards the darkening winter and frenetic preparations for the end of the year, we call today “Black Friday.”  For retailers eager to stem the flow of red ink, seeing the bottom line turn black is a most welcome change.  For the rest of us, shorter days conspires against longer to-do lists and the mood can turn dark rather quickly.

As our BIG IDEA Team gathered this fall to consider the scripture appointed for our worship in these coming weeks, we were struck by the refrains of such a darkened mood, echoing in the words of the prophets and even the evangelist Matthew.  This Sunday, the prophet Habakkuk will inaugurate our Advent celebrations with “O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen?”  Not exactly an inspiring way to begin.

But it is honest.  And timely for a people who continue to be confronted with the unsettling realities of a world overcome with violence, war, and death.  At the outset of our new church year, and though we long for something fresh, we do well to first acknowledge what truly is.  The world is broken.  And we need God’s help more than ever.

But it is into exactly this world that God will break.  God has promised, over and over again, that God will not leave us this way.  Indeed, 2000 years ago, God broke into a world of death and destruction, a world oriented towards the powerful, a world that pushed aside the hurting, the vulnerable, and the lost.  God’s promise delivered hope, embodied and breathing, able to teach and touch and love.  And God’s incarnate hope changed the world.

May your Advent preparations on this “Black Friday” remind you of the world as it is and as it will be.  Trusting in God’s promise, we have hope for such a time as this.

May God’s hope embrace you this day.  -Pastor Peter

Let us pray…

Dear Lord, Grant that we may keep your love on our minds and hearts this Black Friday.

Help us to be patient in long lines, to show kindness in crowds,

to have respect and selflessness in all situations.

Grant us your protection as we travel on this busy day.

Do not let the spirit of greed and consumption overtake us this shopping season.

Let us remember to provide for someone’s needs, and not just their wants.

Remind us to be thankful for all that we have;

especially the people in our lives that we will be shopping for.

Help us to keep in mind that Christmas is about the love that Christ has for us

and not just about giving and receiving gifts.

We thank you for the means and ability you have given us to shop for our loved ones.

We pray for the wants of the poor and for those who have no one to be with them this Christmas.

Grant us your love and mercy throughout the entire Christmas season.  Amen.

“A Prayer for Black Friday” Church of the Savior