The Black Friday Blues

There’s a reason it’s called Black Friday. Millions of people around the world are about to jump into the abyss. We like to make fun of lemmings, but every year we, who are supposed to have more gray matter and opposable digits, do the equivalent by taking the plunge off the financial cliff. Lemming on a RockThe only difference is that lemmings jump into the deep blue sea. We jump into the RED, and spend the entire next year with those “easy monthly payments”.
So before we get too caught up in the holiday spirit, let’s consider a few words and phrases that are key to a healthy marriage: Communication, Unity, Like-mindedness, Consensus, Sharing, Helping, Togetherness, Agreement.
Bloomingdales ChristmasNow let’s consider who is out there strategizing for a GREEN Christmas: MasterCard wants to be your master. Discover card doesn’t want us to discover how much we spent until the bill comes in January. American Excess… get the picture. PayPal is only your pal when you pay. Target is targeting you! Best Buy wants what is best for them. Amazon wants to sell you down the river. And the Apple Store…well, re-read Genesis chapter 3.Lure
The bible warns us how the world lures us in:
the lust of the flesh: This will feel good, or taste good…
the lust of the eyes: I didn’t want it until I saw it. Now I can’t stop thinking about it…
and the pride of life: I’ll be the first to have the newest version. I’ll be the envy of all my friends. 1 John 2:16.
All the displays and mood lighting are not there for your convenience.
As husbands and wives we need each other more than ever during the holiday season, to remind each other what Christmas is really about, so we won’t get caught up in the local mall’s definition.
GrinchSo at the risk of sounding too much like the Grinch, I’m going to recommend we take a piece of advice from Santa, the jolly old elf himself. Make a list and check it twice. For those who don’t speak the language, that’s North Polish for “Make a Christmas Budget”. And do this together before you go out shopping. Some people write their list on an envelope with three columns: Name, Amount, What to buy. If you put the cash inside the envelope, at least you’ll know when you are out of money.
A word about surprises
The commercial said, “There is no substitute for that look on her face when she opens the box and sees it sparkle for the very first time.” What it doesn’t say is, “That is the look of sheer terror wondering “How are we going to pay for this?” We all love surprises when there are no strings attached. But husbands and wives should decide together on their Christmas spending, especially if you are going to purchase any big ticket items.
You may consider doing what we do. For Christmas we give each other a token gift costing no more than $20.00. Then after Christmas, if there is something our spouse really wants, we can buy it at the After-Christmas-Sale for about a third of the price.
Ancient Word NOThe Ancient Word
There is a word that has fallen out of use. It is not politically correct and consequently is no longer taught in schools. Parents have forgotten it and children have not heard it commonly used. The word is NO. It is a word that, at one time, had a very important purpose. It is a word we are supposed to tell our flesh when it wants something that is not in our best interest. We are supposed to use it when our eyes deceive us or we are about to make an unwise choice for the sake of pride. It keeps us from heading back to the punch bowl or from giving too much attention to someone else’s wife. No is a word that needs to find its way back into our vocabulary as a possible option. It could keep us out of big trouble this Christmas.
No Regrets
December 26th can be a day filled with peace or a day full of regret . Many couples have experienced both, but it’s unanimous, we all prefer peace. So before we get carried away in the herd of lemmings, let’s decide with our spouse that this will be the Christmas that Communication, Unity, Like-mindedness, Consensus, Sharing, Helping, Togetherness, and Agreement will determine the color of our Christmas.Christmas Star

Give Peace a Chance

World Peace Bumper StickerHow many of us remember this Bumper Sticker? “Visualize World Peace” was the slogan of a well-meaning organization called Peace Vision that originated in Texas in 1985. (These things always originate in Texas). They believed that if enough individuals visualized peace, there would be peace in the world. The only problem is, it doesn’t work!
Back in the day, you would see these bumper stickers all around town. Peace SignYou’d see them on cars in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the freeway. And you’d see their drivers offering gestures that were NOT the peace symbol.
But ”World Peace” is too big an issue for most of us. What we really want is a little peace in our homes and in our marriages.

If I asked you: How do you define “Peace”?
Some would say:
…If only I could get my teenager to….
…If only I could get my boss to………….
…If only I could get my Husband to…..
…If only I could get my wife to………….you fill in the blank.
How do we find this elusive thing called peace?Peace Symbol 2
Long before John Lennon penned the words to his famous song, couples have longed for “domestic tranquility”…Peace. Why then, if we all want the same thing, do we argue? Why don’t we “Make Love, not War”?
The bible says it is because we become addicted to our own pleasure:
Where do all the fights and quarrels among you come from? They come from your desires for pleasure, which are constantly fighting within you. You want things, but you cannot have them, so you are ready to kill; you strongly desire things, but you cannot get them, so you quarrel and fight. James 4:1-2 GNT
Tank 2There is a phenomenon known as “The Fog of War” where in the heat of the battle, things become so chaotic that soldiers fire upon their own forces, sometimes resulting in heavy casualties from “friendly fire”. Our marriages sometimes suffer the same kind of collateral damage.Grenade Instead of joining forces with our spouse to enjoy the blessings of life, we get into small skirmishes that quickly escalate into World War III. Later we say things like “I can’t believe I said that.” Or, “I can’t believe I did that.”
But the answer to protecting our marriage is not military, it is not organizational and it is not political. Our battle is a spiritual battle and the answer is spiritual as well. The apostle Paul wrote Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. Gal 5:16. Only God can help us win the war against our sin nature.
In a war, an army can only win if it keeps its supply lines open.
It is the same in a spiritual battle. If we sow to the flesh, we will reap corruption. But if we sow to the spirit, we will reap everlasting Life. Gal 6:8.
Which side are you supplying?
It is good to remember that the end of war is supposed to be peace.Dove Olive Branch We can’t treat our spouse like a prisoner of war. We must declare an armistice. In fact, every day should be Armistice Day. The bible tells us “Do not let the sun go down on your wrath.” Eph 4:26
For he who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it! Peter 3:10-11
So what’ve we got to lose? Let’s give peace a chance.