Having placed aside the yearnings, I have to see my family, has made this Thanksgiving a more enjoyable experience. Dinner was amazing, and I most certainly loved spending time with Sara’s family. However, this year a new experience was added to the holiday; Black Friday shopping. My initial reaction was, why not? We would have Thanksgiving dinner, we would watch a movie, sleep a few hours, and at four in the morning we would head out to the one and only mall in Mansfield, OH. So we tried to stick to that initial plan, but a new piece of information completely changed out plans to sleep for a few hours. We though the mall opened at five in the morning, so if we left the house at four then we would get all the good sales at the mall. We were mistaken. The mall did not open at five in the morning, it opened at midnight on Thanksgiving night. We were rolling through several episodes of The Walking Dead (first season) when we got a phone call from Sara’s cousin, who we were heading to the mall with. It was two thirty in the morning, and we would be leaving in ten minutes, ’cause we were apparently behind on the sales by now. We put some jeans on, and thew on a t-shirt and a hoodie, and we headed to the mall.
As we were driving to Mansfield, I felt really pumped. This was something I had never experienced before, but that I had heard many times about.
We arrived to the mall, and from all the bags in the parked cars, I could only imagine how demented and crazy people were as they shopped from store to store. Our first store was Hollister. There some semi naked models to attract the female shoppers; okay. Then we moved into the heart of the store. I can’t even decide whether it had a heart or not, ’cause I thought it lacked a lot of organization. It took me a long time to find their clearance rack, and when I looked at the prices I became disillussioned with the store. However, it seemed that nobody else around the store shared my same sinking feeling. There were people moving around everywhere; Grabbing as much as they could; Paying without even trying things on. To be honest, it was kind of catastrophic to see. There was barely any cash, most of them swiping their plastic keys to freedom and individualism. My heart sunk when I saw crowds and crowds of people spending money recklessly; their behavior went against all that I was taught as a child. I would probably be bankrupt, if I had not been brought up the way I was. The behavioral pattern did not change as we walked from store to store. How could these shoppers not see that these were not real sales, and that the prices were not that different from their regular prices?
They were finding comfort in man-made items that were “breathless”! As I read my devotional with Jeremiah this morning I realized that I had come into culture shock with a side of America I hadn’t yet fully been exposed to. This was consumer America at its fullest. On Jeremiah chpt 10, God, through Jeremiah, warns about idols and the effect that they have in our lives,
“For the customs of the peoples are worthless, they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. They adorn it with silver and gold, they fasten it with a hamer and nails so it will not totter. Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good” (3-5).
The clothes we buy cannot speak to us or walk with us. They cannot guide us. The most they can do is make us think higher of ourselves because our confidence is boosted by a cute, new outfit. But they’re not even capable of doing that. We shouldn’t fear such items and think that they can tell us what kind of person we are. At the same time, they don’t do us any good either because the confidence they give us is but a mirage.
“Everyone is senseless and without knowledge; every goldsmith is shamed by his idols. His images are a fraud; they have no breath in them. They are worthless, the objects of mockery; when their judgment comes, they will perish. He who is the Portion of Jacob is not like these, for he is the Maker of all things, [including us]” (14-16).
I love buying scarfs, and bags, and jewelry, but my life should not depend on these things that “have no breath in them”. My spirit should be revived and awakened all my days, by the Maker who gives us breath and breathes into all he makes.