By TIM LILLEY
JOURNEY OF FAITH
You know what Nov. 27, 2020, is, right? I mean, in addition to being the publication date of this issue of The Message.
Nov. 27, 2020, is the day after Thanksgiving; it’s Black Friday. This time last year, some stores had been open a very long time. People stayed out shopping until they’d had enough. That didn’t take some folks long; others, however, would probably still be shopping if not for COVID-19.
Make no mistake; as you read this, stores will be open and doing everything possible to engage consumers and get them to indulge in Black Friday, 2020. However, many knew that would be a tough sell, at best.
I’ve been getting “Black Friday starts NOW!” emails since the first week of the month. Various local and national news outlets have already filed at least one obligatory story about “how the shopping landscape is changing due to COVID-19.”
It’s all true. Retailers started their traditional Black Friday sales way early this year. And people are adjusting how they take advantage of the bargains – so much so that the headline of this story has made sense to me for weeks.
Instead of Black Friday, I believe Nov. 27, 2020, should be known as Violet/Gold Friday. So let’s change colors.
Violet is the traditional color of liturgical vestments for Advent, which we begin on Nov. 20. I don’t make the color-change suggestion with an eye toward an early start to Advent. Rather, I suggest violet and gold as a way for all of us to remember all who are suffering as a result of this pandemic – and those whose lives it has claimed.
In addition to use during Advent and Lent, violet is the liturgical color for Masses for the dead. Gold is permitted here in the U.S., according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, “for more solemn occasions.”
As a result of the way the past eight-or-so months have played out, shopping on Nov. 27, 2020, doesn’t seem all that important. Praying for those who have lost their lives to COVID-19, those suffering with the dreadful virus now, those on the frontlines who are caring for COVID-19 patients, those who are having really tough times dealing with the need to stay home and/or social-distance and/or wear a face covering – that is what seems most important today here.
As we move into Advent, which is known as a time of preparation and waiting, please think about joining me in devoting some of your prayers for those who are enduring COVID-19 in some form as they wait. Pray for those fighting the disease from home or from a hospital bed. Pray for the courageous personnel treating those fighting for their lives against the virus. Pray for those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19. Pray for those who lost their fight; may they rest in peace.
From here, Nov. 27, 2020, ought to be remembered by history as the day Black Friday became Violet/Gold Friday – the day our prayers rose to God in unison as we continue to seek His mercy and His protection from COVID-19.