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3. FRANK KING'S BLOG: Gray Thursday, Black Friday, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas 4. 12. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 23. 24.

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This year, a number of major retailers decided  they couldn't wait until Friday after Thanksgiving Day, commonly regarded as the beginning of Christmas shopping, but they wanted shoppers to come out on Thanksgiving evening to start their Christmas shopping. The plan was for shoppers to spend part of Thanksgiving Day with family, and then have them rush the stores that participated in so-called Gray Thursday.

I say give us a break. For millions of Americans, Thanksgiving Day is a day to enjoy family and friends and to give thanks for our many blessings. This Gray Thursday stuff takes away from that experience. For instance, my family came together to enjoy Thanksgiving Day,  but late in the afternoon as store opening time approached, a number of family members were preoccupied with looking through the newspaper trying to see where the best deals would be that evening. And think about the employees of these participating stores. They had to leave their families to get to work substantially before opening time to prepare for the crowd. So much for a day for family and thanksgiving.

Unfortunately, there are bound to be a few instances of shopper rage during this peak shopping season. I mean some shoppers will do you harm if you happen to be the person standing between them and that bargain they are determined to get.

I get it that some people were out there on Gray Thursday and Black Friday with the intent of trying to stretch their limited dollars or simply to get the best bargain they could. But I am concerned about the message that's being sent. Christmas is not just about shopping, shopping, shopping. And life is more than things. "A man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions," Jesus teaches (Luke 12:15).

But Gray Thursday and Black Friday place shopping and the madness to get more things front and center for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Since this is a Christian blog, I am aiming this post particularly at Christians and other people of faith who view Christmas and Thanksgiving Day as more than a means to help businesses go from red to black. To us, these holidays have a much more significant meaning.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with our taking part in special shopping during this time of the year. I am sure that some of you are really good at that. I do a little Christmas shopping, but it's not something I enjoy. My main point is that we must not allow Gray Thursday , Black Friday, and the remainder of this shopping season  to cheapen what Thanksgiving Day and Christmas mean to us.

Copyright Ā© 2012 by Frank King. All rights reserved.

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