As a general rule, I don’t shop on Black Friday.
I know lots of people who do and that’s fine with me (for the most part), but I just can’t bring myself to participate.
Let me explain. Years ago, I spent an extremely satisfying Thanksgiving with my wife. The weather was beautiful, we spent time talking with family members and friends, we walked in the park, and we ate an enormous amount of food.
Then came Black Friday.
We awoke to the news that we had lost someone very close to us. We took it pretty hard in a way that you never really get over but simply learn to live over time.
As I’ve gotten older, I realize that this is more common than I once knew. Holidays are meant to be spent with those we love the most. So what do we do when they’re no longer with us? How can we be expected to go on as normal? This day has become a remembrance day of sorts for me, and I’m certainly not going to spend it fighting crowds and spending money for things I don’t even want with money I don’t even have.
Holidays magnify our losses in life. Sadness feels sadder, anger grows stronger, regret gets bigger, and loneliness goes deeper.
So how do we deal with it? How do we continue? I’ve learned that I can’t avoid the feelings associated with grief. The only way I can avoid the pain is to walk through it intentionally.
In Matthew 5:4, Jesus said, “God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
If you’re dealing with grief today, as I am, let me encourage you to dedicate some time to walking through it. Write them a letter. Look through old photos and laugh. Allow yourself to cry. Show honor to the one you miss by sharing your thoughts and feelings with the Lord. He is always there waiting to hear what you have to say ready to extend mercy and grace to help in your time of need.