Beliefnet
Inspiration Report

downloadThere are two types of people on Black Friday. The first type is awake and out the door before the sun ever rises. They stand in long lines with dozens of other shoppers and wait impatiently for the doors to open. They are determined to get that great deal on a new TV or Christmas gifts at a heavily discounted price. The second type of person has a very different Black Friday. They roll of out bed in the late morning and sit around in their pajamas. They know that the malls are packed and shoppers are driving like maniacs. So, this type of person eats Thanksgiving leftovers and refuses to leave the house.

For years, those were more or less the only options anyone had. A person had to either join the madness or board up the windows. In 2010, however, Church Fox created a third option: Bless Friday ®.

Bless Friday ® is a day of service projects run by a collection of churches in multiple states. This year, many of the service projects focused on helping people who were impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Other projects in Texas included working at a homeless shelter, filling stockings or making hot chocolate to share with local townspeople, volunteering at a soup kitchen and serving lunch to those who are addicted or disabled.

Churches across the country assisted those in their own communities. Parishioners at Seattle’s Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, for example, helped the homeless at the St. Vincent de Paul of Seattle food bank. Bless Friday ® 2017 also had at-home options. People who did not wish to brave the crowded roads and masses of shoppers could pack rice and beans for the Fuente Food Pantry or make emergency lunch kits for Kids’ Meals.

In addition to the usual Friday activities, Bless Friday ® continued on through Saturday this year. Beacon of Light Christian Center, located in an economically challenged part of Houston, hosted a food and clothing giveaway. They gave away enough food to feed at least 100 local families, and in honor of the season, one of the varieties of foods given away was turkey. Beacon of Light also gave coats to children in need.

Six years ago, Church Fox founded Bless Friday ® in Houston in an effort to change the way Americans celebrated Christmas. Fox stated, “Beginning the Christmas celebration with service changes the way you experience the season. It can be especially transformative for children to shift their focus from receiving presents to serving others.”

Christians do not have to live near an official Bless Friday ® event to participate. Soup kitchens and homeless shelters all over the country need extra volunteers, and every community has its own unique needs. The most important thing for Christians wishing to participate in Bless Friday ® is to pick an activity that honors God, gather friends and family members and start the Christmas season with humble service.

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