I am as culpable as any other American consumer in turning the day after Thanksgiving into a hunt for cheap consumer goods. Our 13-year-old and I braved the traffic, the parking lots and the lines to cashiers on Black Friday so I could buy him an outfit for a Bar Mitzvah he went to today. This is the fifth he has attended in the past year and he is growing so quickly, I have to keep on buying him new dress pants and shirts. He can wear his dad's dress shoes now.
I hadn't been out on Black Friday since I was a retail reporter years ago in Winston-Salem, N.C., covering the crowds. But there were not all that many people out, if my memory serves. Now, Black Friday has morphed into an endurance contest - how much shopping can you get done in the hours after Thanksgiving dinner? Did you stay up all night to shop?
I was shocked by the crowd at Kohl's, our first stop. The lines were at least an hour long to the cash register. We headed to TJMaxx next door and yes, I loaded up on stuff - Christmas tablecloths, a beautiful runner and some peppermint soap. We waited 15 minutes in line, which felt like nothing after considering what was going on at Kohl's.
I turned to another great resource, Catholic Cuisine, to figure out how to make tomorrow's Feast of Christ the King more meaningful for my family. In addition to attending Mass together, we will be eating a "royal feast" of ham and green beans and a chocolate cake. Talking with teens about our faith is not always easy. Ours sons have plenty of distractions. We all do.
When Pope Pius XI instituted this feast in 1925, he was worried about the human tendency to ignore the supremacy of Christ, thus leading to secularism.
Tomorrow is an opportunity to emphasize the supremacy of Christ. The common mentality does everything it can to prevent us from proclaiming Him and from reclaiming this "holiday shopping season" as a holy time spent preparing for His birth, for the time when Mystery entered the realm of the human.