Justin: Every year, I watch in awe as the crowds gather on “Black Friday.” It’s something I have never understood. Black Friday has become a national holiday dedicated to materialism.
My problem with Black Friday is that it seems to be a day where we place our attachment to material goods ahead of people. I always comment to Sara that there is nothing in the world that I want badly enough to stand in line for hours or trample my companions while I attempt to save a dollar.
As Christians we are called to a certain level of detachment. This is not to say that material things are bad, but just that they are less important than the people we are called to love. Our desire for things of this world ought not to distract us from our duties or our ability to be present to those around us.
At the same time, it is often easy for me to become prideful. I read the stories about Black Friday and thought to myself, “How silly those people are. I am glad that I am not crazy like them.” However, we all have attachments and this weekend I was reminded of one of my own.
Saturday was the rivalry game for my Alma Mater, the University of Alabama. We were undefeated and trying to win our third straight national football championship. Then disaster happened. After being ahead the entire game our arch-rival scored a touchdown on the last play of the game.
While this is obviously a terribly sad story, my reaction was a good reminder that I am not as detached as I thought I was. A normal person might be upset. However, I am more of a fanatic when it comes to my football team. I went into mourning. I couldn’t eat and I couldn’t sleep! Even today, I can still see the last play when I close my eyes.
The problem with my reaction is that it has been a major distraction from my family and my duties. Sara always feels disconnected when I stay up late rather than coming to bed with her. I am less patient with Gus and unengaged with my work.
Yesterday, one of our friends asked on Facebook what others were giving up for Advent. While performing small sacrifices is not a typical tradition most of us perform during Advent, I thought it was a good reminder that Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of Christ. It is a good time to recognize our own attachments and an opportunity to focus on those things that matter most.