Unlike things were "back in the day", when the extent of the fall calendar fall included Halloween and Thanksgiving, with nothing more until Christmas, our modern calendars are now chock full of all sorts of days devoted to first one purpose and then another.
For instance, Thanksgiving, occurring as it does on Thursday, is hardly over before "Black Friday" unfolds. Stores quite literally open at midnight. Indeed some even open at 6pm on Thursday itself! Either way, the frenzy is on! Not to be outdone, "Black Friday" sales then give way to "Small Business Saturday" and "Cyber Monday" and yet another plethora of discounts and deals. In the process, you and I are bidden to spend, spend, and then spend some more.
One wonders how many more such special days will appear in the next decade or two. "Obtain-It-All Tuesday"? "Rake-It-All-In Wednesday"? "Take-It-All-Home Thursday"? "Score-It-All Sunday"? Such is life!
At this point, of course, I realize that that any retailers who happen to be reading this may well take umbrage with me. Many venders actually do depend upon these heavy shopping days to turn a profit for the year. Hence, the very name "Black Friday". (Wikipedia has an excellent article on the origin of this day.)
But, if it sounds like I am being a little disparaging here, then let me remind you how ironic it is that we are so quickly encouraged to set aside the one single day we manage to devote to appreciation and jump right back into day after day of consumption!
All this being said, I do want to affirm one particular new "special" day that has cropped up on the calendar. The day after "Cyber Monday" has now come to be designated as "Giving Tuesday". Begun in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y in New York City as a response to the very commercialization and consumerism in the post-Thanksgiving season decried above, this is a relatively new special day on our calendar whose purpose is to encourage charitable giving in a season of conspicuous consumption.
If you are as yet unfamiliar with "Giving Tuesday", don't feel too bad. You are likely not alone. A couple of years ago, the John Templeton Foundation released a study based on a survey of Americans showing that 93% of respondents were familiar with "Black Friday", whereas only 18% were familiar with "Giving Tuesday".
Nonetheless, while this special day still has a long way to go in terms of achieving name recognition, it is fast gaining traction. For instance, records indicate that in the first year it was begun (2012), Americans donated just over $10 million to various charities on this special day. The following year, 2013 saw that amount rise to over $28. 2014 was over $45 million; 2015 topped $116 million; and 2016 exceeded $168 million. The latest figures show that 2017 scored over $274 in charitable contributions! Praise the Lord!
And yet, these figures should not really surprise us. There is little doubt that they are due to the purpose behind this special day. After all, it was Jesus Christ Himself Who reminded us that there is a far bigger blessing in giving than in receiving! And once people come to realize this, it makes a significant impact on their approach to charity.
As I write this, it is right at 9pm on Cyber Monday. A Fox Business News web site article currently contains the following headline: "Cyber Monday Tracking For Biggest Online Shopping Day In US History!" And this comes on the heels of this past Friday, which itself set a record as the single busiest shopping day ever in U.S. history!
All of this is, of course, very good news - for retailers, to be sure - but also for our economy in general. And my previous rant notwithstanding, if this was due in part to you, then you are to be congratulated - both for getting a good deal and for helping to spur our economy in the process.
But do not forget about tomorrow. Let’s make "Giving Tuesday" every bit as successful as "Cyber Monday" and "Black Friday" ever were! For the twin satisfactions of getting a good deal and spurring the economy really do pale in comparison to the blessing we get when we give as much or more than we receive!
INFO SOURCE: You can read more about "Giving Tuesday" here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giving_Tuesday.
SCRIPTURE SOURCE: https://biblehub.com/acts/20-35.htm.
NEWS SOURCE: https://www.foxbusiness.com/retail/cyber-monday-tracking-for-biggest-online-shopping-day-in-us-history.