This year shoppers had more incentive than ever to leave their Thanksgiving tables to hit the malls for early Christmas shopping and bargains. Before the bird was even cold or in some cases even carved, people were lined up (often outdoors and in the cold) for the chance to be first at the promised bargains. Brown Thursday they called it. Merchants eager to get a jump on black Friday opening their doors to hordes of people on what was once one of the most meaningful and sacred days of the year.
It wasn’t always this way. For I remember a time, when nary a store was open on Thanksgiving or Sunday either for that matter. Everyone had the opportunity to be at home with friends and family for a special day of giving thanks. But, over the years that has changed and we have become increasingly less interested in giving thanks than we are in getting stuff. And, no doubt stores previously closed on Christmas day will now be open early so that the gifts unwrapped in the morning can be exchanged in the afternoon for the stuff that we really wanted but, didn’t get.
There’s a reason Lot’s wife was turned to salt. You remember her – Lot’s wife? The woman who was turned to salt for looking back as Sodom and Gomorrah were being destroyed. A woman, who though instructed otherwise could not help herself for looking back as everything she owned was being incinerated in a fiery cascade of sulfur and brimstone. A look that cost her dearly – her life - and left her with the dubious distinction of being known from that day forward as the woman who was turned to salt.
But, why salt? Good question! There is a reason Lot’s wife was changed to salt and not chocolate or marshmallow or some other crazy kind of thing – for salt, as we know is a mineral essential to life and therefore has been a very precious commodity from ancient times until this present day. And, while cheap and in abundance now, it was once bartered, traded and even used for currency; it’s where the term “salary” comes from and the expression “worth his salt”. In other words, salt was the equivalent of money – stuff – the material things of life. And, while the scripture does not tell us why Lot’s wife looked back; what she was turned in to (salt) does – Lot’s wife was turned in to what she valued most – money! Something, I never realized until my daughter “Seven Stars” pointed this out to me in a recent conversation.
The Bible warns us against materialism and the love of money and the example of Lot’s wife is just one way in which we are shown the folly of those who do. It’s admittedly difficult being cut off from the comforts, the luxuries and the material things of life that we have become so accustomed to. I found this out first hand as I had to sell almost everything I owned to leave Hawaii. And, when I was in Israel and was cut off for the better part of three weeks from junk food, soda and sweets. A simple but, healthy diet that I enjoyed for a while but, would have been very unhappy with much longer. Causing me to admit my own dependence on these kinds of things and my own lack of ability for letting go.
It’s easy to fault Lot’s wife and the “brown Thursday”shoppers but, we all have our own struggle with materialism, don’t we? Which leaves me wondering – how will we cope when these things are stripped away? Something to think about, isn’t it?
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper who love thee” Psalm 122:6
Watching and waiting with YOU for the soon return of Jesus! Cindy