November 28, 2016
You’re in a veritable vortex; can you feel it?
It’s a calendar constellation that has developed its own gravitational forces, putting people into motion in a variety of ways.
It started last week, with Thanksgiving. There were 47 million folks traveling more than 50 miles to sit down around a table for a 4500-calorie meal that took hours to make… and just minutes to eat. The next show-stopper was Black Friday: last year, 151 million people went retail – online, or on-site – and added $299.60 to their credit card balances (the 2016 numbers are still being tabulated; the Green Party has already asked the National Retail Federation for a recount).
Thank the Pilgrims for Thanksgiving; blame internet marketers for Cyber Monday (today). First named by Ellen Davis – VP of the Nat’l Retail Fed – in 2005, today offers workers back from their long weekend an unneeded excuse to turn their office cubicle into Santa’s workshop. The ecommerce world offers special discounts today on all the stuff Target and BestBuy ran out of last Friday.
It isn’t over yet: tomorrow is the caboose on the calendar holiday train. Welcome to Giving Tuesday, 2016.
In 2012, the United Nations Foundation teamed in New York with the 92nd Street Y (not to be confused with the YMCA, the 92Y is “a proudly Jewish organization”) to promote philanthropy. The concept was joined by the new era corporate voices in the cultural choir – brands like Skype, Cisco, Mashable and others – to foster charity among the new generation.
No small challenge: pay the Thanksgiving premium for airfare and Uber; camp-out in front of the big-box stores for the door-buster specials, then run the credit cards to their limits today while pretending to be back on the business frontline… and then, tomorrow, throw whatever you have left into the charity crowd-fund, to give something back. “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…”
Think back to Thursday. Around the table, there were probably some thoughtful people who inventoried the great things in their life, and referred to them as “blessings.” Maybe you used that word to explain your experience in life. Your personhood, your relationships, your position in your career and in your community, the things you’ve accumulated that surround and serve you: all of those might have been in your mind when you referred to your “blessings.” You probably cited God as your Benefactor. When you deconstruct that description of a rich and bountiful life experience, what will you find?
As you look to the horizon while motoring down the Blessing Parkway, have you looked over your shoulder to consider its origins? Where did this idyllic journey begin?
Retrace the path to a point in the Mideast, about 4000 years ago. The genealogy of a family – with dozens of names in play – intros a nondescript character who is singled-out by God for special consideration. Abram is lifted from the crowd and offered God’s blessing (see it: Genesis 12).
God says, “I will bless you.” With what? How did God bless Abraham? An amazing family, destined to become an independent nation. His name would become a powerful brand. His land holdings – given to him by God – would be a source of incredible wealth. God would be his Protector against anyone who would seek to harm him. His detractors would be silenced and chagrined by the Almighty. Imagine sharing that vault of valuables around the family Thanksgiving table…
Why did God “bless” Abram/Abraham? “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Abraham didn’t win the lottery… he received the resources with which he would become a blessing.
All of the “blessings” cited last Thursday were not to fund the weekend shopping spree, but to enable a life of giving to others. Every day is Giving Day, according to God.