Black Friday–the largest shopping day of the season. I think it should be renamed “How Americans Can’t be Content”. It was bad enough when stores started to put Christmas things up before Halloween and then opened WAY TOO EARLY the Friday after Thanksgiving now stores are starting their sales on Thursday night. Can people really not wait until Friday to start shopping? Are the deals that good? What about those who actually work at the retail chains many of us frequent? I’m guessing many had to cut their holiday celebration short so they could get some sleep and be ready to work late that evening or early the next morning. Why must we go as fast as we can from one holiday to the next? When do we get to stop working, reflect, savor time and enjoy a meal with our families? Is it just Thursday afternoon and then get ready for shopping on Thursday night into Friday?
This year I said “No” to Christmas shopping on Friday. Christmas, and gift shopping, should be more than this or this. Instead of shopping I want to share what we did instead on the day after Thanksgiving.
This year my brother-in-law and sister-in-law were nice enough to take on cooking the meal so we went to Metro DC for our Thanksgiving. Thursday was a wonderful day and we really enjoyed the relaxed environment and slow pace of the day. When we were trying to think about what to do on Friday I mentioned going to the new King Memorial on the Mall. WOW! What an amazing sight! My only complaint is that I didn’t have enough time to view all that was around the monument. One of the most touching scenes (there were many) was of a little boy standing in front of a quote from King’s 1964 Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech.
What I love about this picture is the combination of the little boy’s smile and the strong words of King. “I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.” I wonder if the boy read the words above him or if he was just told to stand and smile for a picture. I would like to think that the boy read the words, was so moved by them that he had to have his picture taken. I also like to think that he is going to take up King’s audacious belief and strive to live a life that gets us one step closer to this goal. So while others in our nation were knocking each other over to save some money, this boy, and others, were spending their time helping others by taking a picture of a group standing in front of the monument who traveled all night to get to DC, staying out of the way so two sisters could have their picture taken in front of the monument, and contemplating the words that challenge all of us to be better and do better. Shopping can wait.