Amidst Black Friday insanity, churches celebrate the Christian alternative ‘Bless Friday’
By End the Lie
While retail stores across the United States have had fights break out and a police officer fire on a suspected shoplifter, some Christians are taking a different approach to Black Friday.
Instead of fighting violent crowds, a group of churches in Texas has created “Bless Friday,” an opportunity for Christians to serve people in need. The project has now spread outside of Texas as well.
Bless Friday founder Chuck Fox said he is excited by the churches joining the project.
“People get our message that when we focus too much on buying things, we lose sight of the real reason for Christmas – remembering and honoring Christ,” Fox said, according to a press release. “We want to begin our Christmas celebration by serving others just as Jesus did.”
In addition to today’s community service projects scheduled by six Houston-area churches, Bless Friday will have a station in Houston’s City Centre.
The group has a station in the plaza where shoppers are encouraged to stop and help assemble bags aimed at blessing the homeless in the local area.
“On the most consumer-oriented day of the year, we want to offer a way of being constructively countercultural,” Pastor Brandon Gaide said.
Yet all of the projects run by various churches and the Bless Friday organization itself are just part of the larger effort to get people to serve others during the Christmas season, according to Fox.
“The great thing about Bless Friday is that you don’t need to participate in these planned activities. Any individual, family or group can identify a need and begin their Christmas season with service,” he said.
The planned activities include a wide range of service projects ranging from preparing food and cleaning facilities at a local homeless shelter to holding an ice cream sundae party for residents of a hospice home for HIV/AIDS patients.
Bless Friday has been in operation since 2010 and grown significantly over the years. It was inspired by a sermon preached in 2009 and began out of Fox’s home church, Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church.
“We have more churches this year and in three cities: Houston, Texas; The Woodlands, Texas; and Seattle, Wash. Denominations include Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal, and Catholic,” Fox said to The Christian Post.
Fox also noted the wide range of activities available for those interested in serving others, ranging from “working in food pantries, to doing maintenance in Women’s and Children’s Center to cleaning up city parks.”
A website called “Black Friday Death Count” tallies the injuries and deaths on Black Fridays dating back to 2006.
“Our country has a great capacity to regenerate itself,” Fox said to The Christian Post. “My hope is for us to begin our Christian celebration with service. Then we will place our focus on Christ and everything else will fall into place.”
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