Has the Grinch successfully stolen Christmas – in name and in spirit?
There's something about the term “Black Friday” that is very negative to me, especially when it comes to the holiday season. Wikipedia defines Black Friday as the Friday immediately following Thanksgiving Day and is currently regarded as the official opening of the Christmas shopping season.
The online encyclopedia says the term “Black Friday” can be traced to Philadelphia as far back as 1961. It refers to the point in the year in which retailers begin turning a profit (the black) and is frequently referred to as the busiest shopping day of the year, primarily because so many people have the day off from work as part of the Thanksgiving holiday.
I guess my negative connotation of “Black Friday” is my association with a 1940 horror movie of the same name. My first images of Black Friday came from news footage of people almost literally running over each other to get into the stores to get the latest bargains. The black and blue bruises from the tug-of-war over the hottest Christmas gift items also may have added to the significance of the day being referred to as Black Friday.
I am positive the old Grinch smiles with glee as he watches people literally fight each other over the last remaining bath towel at 30 percent off the sticker price. So much for peace on earth and goodwill toward man.
The Grinch has a 2-pronged personality. The first asserts itself as the result of the current condition of the U.S. economy. Workers on limited incomes are compelled to seek out the lowest prices possible in order to provide the proper Christmas loot under the tree. The second Grinch personality is defined by greed – the desire to get something for less and as much as possible, even if it means punching out someone trying to get the item they also desire.
When I was growing up, the Thanksgiving holiday also ushered in the Christmas shopping season but without the modern hysteria. Macy's Parade commercials were saturated with the latest toys children would desire for Christmas. The shopping began in earnest the following Friday but without the helter-skelter currently associated with Black Friday.
We need to return to the idea that Christmas is a time for giving and not receiving. The gift-giving tradition dates back to the wise men that travelled a great distance to bring gifts to honor the birth of our Lord and Savior, who did not leave a wish list. Thirty-three years later, he would give mankind the greatest gift of all – forgiveness of our sins and the hope of eternal life.
Today, there are many merchants that want to take Christ out of Christmas. “Happy Holidays” spring from their lips instead of the traditional “Merry Christmas.” Those same merchants don't seem to have any problems with reaping the huge financial benefits from what has become the most commercial of all holidays in this country.
Page 2 of 2 - We praise those who continue to keep the spirit of the holiday season by providing food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless and toys for those children who otherwise would not have a Christmas present.
The Grinch will never be able to fully steal the spirit of Christmas. If you remember the ending of the story, he too was converted into a believer. As long as the air is filled with Christmas carols, the hungry are being fed and the children wake up that special morning with a smile on their face then Christmas is alive and well despite the Grinch of Black Friday.