Getting and Giving Word on the Week 30th November 2019.
Black Friday has been successfully negotiated this week with many accounts in the retail sector safely in the black. This import from the US (it is reputed to have started in Philadelphia) comes without the prior Thanksgiving Thursday where Americans celebrated the success of the Pilgrim Fathers first corn harvest in 1621.
Perhaps as an antidote to the slogan “shop till you drop” we now have, as a follow up to Black Friday – Cyber Monday! It was created by retailers to encourage people to shop online from their home presumably surfing the internet for leftover bargains left behind from their exertions on the previous Friday.
Not all retailers are in favour of such an extension to the price reduction market. They feel it will spoil the traditional commercialisation of Christmas. There is a limit to the spending power of shoppers they say. Others argue that we are having a good year financially so there is more disposable capital to be garnered! Let the buying frenzy (known commercially as market forces) begin.
Of course it wouldn’t be Christmas without Santa and stockings and gifts. The latter originally were intended to remind us of God’s gift of his Son to us (2 Corinthians Chapter 9 verse 15). But just as Black Friday, on this side of the Atlantic, has been shorn from Thanksgiving we have all but shorn the giving of gifts from the real meaning of Christmas (St John Chapter 3 verse 16).
This is the time of year that charities do better at fundraising. Ireland is well placed for choice. There are seven major charities dealing with the homeless. Overseas giving through Dochas, the umbrella organisation for overseas charities in Ireland, presents the choice of 42 members and a further 13 associates. With suicide prevention/bereavement there are 48 separate agencies in the field.
It is right that we should look after our own. 1 Timothy Chapter 5 verse 8 reads “if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his house-hold, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever”. There are also the needs of Christians living in countries where they are persecuted for following Jesus Christ. If you are a believer, you are related to them. They are our brothers and sisters in the faith. The Kingdom of God has no boundaries (2 Corinthians Chapter 16 verses 1 to 3).
Gifts can be sent via Barnabas Fund (UK) or the Dublin based Church in Chains – www.churchinchains.ie