John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Matthew 28:1-10 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Here in the United States, this day is called Black Friday. It comes once a year. The day following Thanksgiving is marked as the biggest shopping day of the year as people take advantage of sales that are established for one day only. I’ve had friends who have climbed out of bed way before the break of dawn to be the first in line as stores opened. Others have shopped all night Thanksgiving night and into Friday trying to get the best deals. Not this girl though. You won’t catch me out shopping on Black Friday. No way! I normally choose this day to decorate for Christmas, but thanks to that old COVID bug, I was given a two week staycation, and through the fog of fatigue and body aches, Christmas decor has fully arrived in all its splendor here at Hodge Lodge. I know we celebrate Christ on a daily basis, but this year I felt like we needed to celebrate the Christmas season longer than usual. We need to truly remember the reason for the season. We need to remember the birth of our Savior. We need to remember that terrible Black Friday, and we need to remember the resurrection which gives us salvation.

I recommend that you take some time to read the books of Matthew and Luke this holiday season, and take some time to reflect and appreciate the significance of our celebration. A little over 2000 years ago, God sent His Son, Jesus, to earth. He was born as a baby, fully man and fully God, to walk among the people with the purpose of bringing salvation to this world full of sinners. Yes, this perfect Christ lived a sinless life, and then one terrible Black Friday 2020 years ago, He died an agonizing death on the cross. He was beaten and bruised, pierced, nailed to a cross, and mocked and laughed at. The very thought of the punishment He endured brings tears to my eyes especially when I realize that He endured that terrible suffering for my sins and yours. He endured agonizing hours of torture up until the time of His death. It was the darkest of all Fridays. It was a truly awful day. Why then do we call this day Good Friday? The Friday before Easter (Resurrection Day) has always been called Good Friday, but it was such a terrible dark, black day! It was called Good Friday because that was NOT the end of the story and because that awful day was actually a day of salvation for the world. When Christ died that day, He took on the sins of the world. He made a way for us to be made right with the Father. He suffered and died for each of us, but wait! There’s more! Death could not hold Him. Just as the Word prophesied, three days later, He arose. The tomb could not contain Him. Death did not defeat Him. Christ arose! That is absolutely, without a doubt the BEST Black Friday gift ever given or received.

I’m so thankful for this best gift of all times. Today, if you are scurrying around shopping and looking for the perfect gift, take some time to remember that the BEST gift has already been given to the world. If you’ve received the gift of Salvation, please share that gift this holiday season. If you haven’t yet received this marvelous gift, what are you waiting for? Salvation is the absolute best gift ever, and it is totally free. It cost Christ an agonizing death on the cross, but He gives this gift freely to all who will accept it. I pray that today you enjoy the best Black Friday gift ever!

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