Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, marks the frenzied beginning of the commercial Christmas season. Widely touted as the biggest sales opportunity of the year, Black Friday figures prominently in a given year’s strategic sales plans.
On this Black Friday evening I saw scenes of bedlam and chaos from around the country. At upscale Malls no less than at Wal-Marts everywhere, when the magic hour arrived, the doors were unlocked, the protective metal bars opened, and throngs of people en mass rushed in, surging with, pushing over and through and around their fellow crazed shoppers. These earnest consumers had waited hours for this, some of them in the cold and rain. As they waited they had plotted and schemed about the path of their mad dash. When the time came, they knew where they’d go first and what they would grab, and then second, and then third. What an amazing phenomenon!
Indeed, on signal, as the crazed crowds were unleashed, at first there were screams of delight and release, for painful, pent up longing at last acquired its object. Soon, however, there were other screams as well, screams of anger when forward movement was too slow, and screams of fear when the force of the crowd behind caused some to fall to the floor and be trampled.
Every year, all of this happens. And for what—the latest gadgets, the boast of the first to have “it,” or the extraordinary experience of it all? I wondered how many Christ-followers were in such crowds.
As I watched these scenes, I imagined another kind of day, maybe we could call it “Bright Monday”—the day that comes to stay after the full effects of what happened on the “Third Day” become final.
For this day, too, throngs of people gather and wait—for so long it seems like ages. The expectant in this crowd have likewise planned and schemed about what they will do and how they will do it, once the hour comes, the doors open and all restraints are removed.
I see them gathered, waiting and longing wherever the poor are to be found, wherever barriers hide the dark commerce of human trafficking, where the starving huddle in apparent hopeless anticipation of something to staunch their hunger and nourish their children, where the abandoned do whatever they must to get by, and where the broken, bruised, and bleeding lay waiting for the end of their pain.
On the eve of Bright Monday the gathering crowds of people stand waiting to flood into the darkest places on earth with Light at the first crack of dawn. They wait and hope, earnest in their desire to share what they have, confident it will make right much that is wrong. Something in them and among them urges them to hang in there, not to lose heart, and even to begin savoring the satisfaction that will be, come Bright Monday!
Finally then, the time comes! Doors are unlocked, gates slide open, and the waiting is over. As these crowds surge forward there is blessing and cosmos, light banishes darkness, freedom releases the bound, healing flows to the sick, wholeness to the broken, help for the powerless, relief for the burdened, joy for the miserable, and Life for the dying. And, somehow, not only for these persons and places, but for all everywhere.
When Bright Monday comes and the crowds surge forward, there will be screams only of delight and joy. No one falls before the pressing crowds, but the smallest and weakest and weariest among them find themselves gathered up into this movement that more than matches their need. Indeed, the movement takes them to where and when, “it is very good!”
That’s what will happen on Bright Monday—the day already so near for earnest Christ-followers, so near they not only taste some of its satisfaction, they already take some steps to make real—now—what will be once Bright Monday becomes the only day of the week.