Summary: The focus on worldly things during the Christmas season has hidden the true reason for the season.
THE FORGOTTEN SAVIOR
INTRO: Friday was the first shopping day after Thanksgiving and is know as “Black Friday”.
1. I’ll confess that I did go shopping yesterday in one store, a book store.
(1. It was crowded but I was able to buy a bargain - If you bought two reduced price books you got a third one free.
2. Actually the bookstore shoppers were a little calmer than you probably found in most stores.
(1. When I checked out the clerk asked if I had a penny - I didn’t have one but the guy behind me immediately offered one of his.
3. Things were a little wilder across the country with stores opening as early as 5am and many in line for the opening long before that.
(1. Because, stores/retailers were offering some incentives and bargains for the shoppers.
4. Erik Gordon, marketing professor at Johns Hopkins University says, "Stores are as desperate as ever to get people in the door. But it’s another holiday season without compelling stuff."
5. ANNE D’INNOCENZIO, AP Business Writer, writes, Shoppers swarmed the nation’s malls and stores on Friday, even before the sun rose, to grab early bird deals on hot items like flat-screen TVs and DVD players as the holiday shopping season officially began. Despite freezing temperatures in some places, and huge crowds everywhere, shoppers came armed with lists, credit cards and game plans with almost military precision. They created shortages already in some popular gadget gifts.
6. C. Britt Beemer, chairman of America’s Research Group, based in Charleston,S.C. said, "Every retailer knows that if they are going to win the holiday season, they must win this weekend to keep the momentum going.”
7. By the time a Wal-Mart store in the Buffalo, N.Y. suburb of Hamburg opened at 6 a.m., one thousand people had formed a lined that reached across the entire store front, in spite of the temperature being only 31 degrees.
8. One of the shoppers, Ruth Pompeo, was up at 3am and in line at 4:30am with her 11-year-old niece said, "It’s our tradition. I don’t know what I’m here to grab, actually," she paused and then said, "Whatever I can."
9. At a Wal-Mart store in Alpharetta, Ga., just north of Atlanta, a supply of discounted Hasbro Video Now personal video players sold out in only 12 minutes.
10. Karen Dawkins, of Cayce, S.C who was at a Toys R Us store very early Friday morning shared that, "The deals are better this early in the morning."
(1. She was almost done with her shopping just a little after 6 a.m. because her family had a plan.
(2. Karen went on to say, "I have my mother at Circuit City and my sister at Target...so we have people stationed at other stores." "We all got together after Thanksgiving dinner and got the ads and made a list."
11. Just after 6am in a Plano, Tex., Best Buy store, Martin Clouser and his wife Teri were carrying out their attack plan.
(1. Martin stood watch over a shopping cart overflowing with a printer, television set, a $14 DVD player and a voucher for a desktop computer.
(2. Martin’s wife, Teri, was hunting the aisles for more bargains for Christmas gifts.
12. Martin Clouser shared, "It’s like a war plan, she runs in ahead of me, and I get the cart. She picks out all the good bargains and carries as much as she can, then throws it in the cart and moves to the next station."
13. Why would they need to be so organized and aggressive in their shopping?
(1. When they arrived at 4am they found that there were already several hundred people in a line that reached around the store and down the block.
I. As I said prior to Thanksgiving - it appears that Thanksgiving is becoming a forgotten holiday.
1. Oh, everyone enjoys the time off - but the Christmas decorations and the shopping starts long before Thanksgiving.
2. Thanksgiving is a purely Christian holiday with no pagan claims at all - It ought to be that way at Christmas but it really isn’t.
3. What is the first thing that people think about when they think of Christmas?
(1. It would appear that they think about shopping for Christmas gifts.
4. I would submit to you that long before Thanksgiving was becoming a forgotten holiday that the true meaning of Christmas had been forgotten.
5. If we return to our Scripture in Psalm 106 for a moment we will see that this is exactly what had happened to the Hebrews after their miraculous escape from captivity in Egypt.
6. What does that ancient history have to do with us and Christmas shopping? Exactly!