A Tale of Two Fridays

I walked through a local store just days after Halloween and heard “Joy to the World” floating softly from the speakers. The lyrics about hope and preparing our hearts melted like snowflakes on warm October sidewalks, amid the heated rush toward sale signs and busy employees wearing Santa hats.  I paused before the beauty of that Advent song juxtaposed against the chaos of holiday shopping, and it struck me that there is now only one formidable religious Friday in our culture.

I recently wrote a book about my search for joy.  It was a narrative adventure that began with the stark realization that my life and the lives of the people I know seemed curiously void of transcendental moments. One of the many truths that I stumbled over on my journey was how profoundly many of us are burdened by our obsession to consume: the newest car, the latest technology or the brightest flat-screen television.  Our spiritual lives are joyless. We can no longer differentiate between wants and needs, because we have unseated our trust in a nomadic God and replaced him with a new American “deity.”

The nauseating political commercials of early fall have given way to a tsunami of advertisements celebrating our most potent and intentional religious practice in America. Our Novembers now bring us a Friday carnival of greed, debt, and self-serving emptiness so dark and ominous that its shadow darkens the Story of God’s arrival among us and His sacrificial movement toward the Friday that would be the most sacred day of the Christian calendar. Advent, which marks the beginning of our journey toward the observance of Good Friday, has been obscured by the shopping “holiday” of Black Friday.  Our most fanatical religion is one powered not by self-sacrifice, loving our neighbors, and accepting responsibility, but by the blaring noise and bright lights of advertising’s empty promises. The sheer dominance of Black Friday on our culture has crowned Consumerism as the most prominent faith in America and there are plenty of casualties to prove it…

(Read the full Huffington Post article HERE)

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