Blog: Max Dawson
November 30, 2015
Black Friday has come and gone for this year. The only shopping I participated in on Friday was going to Beaver’s Tree Farm in Nome to pick out our tree for the holidays.

And I am glad. I don’t like the mall. I don’t like Walmart. I certainly don’t like being in a crowd fighting over the last Star Wars action figure.

Do you know where the phrase “Black Friday” originated? Most people don’t. I always thought it originated with the retailers who operated “in the red” much of the year, but made up for it with the day after Thanksgiving sales that put them “in the black.” Hence, “Black Friday.”

It turns out that we have the Philadelphia police department to thank for the term.

Here is part of an article written almost 50 years ago by Martin Apfelbaum, Executive VP of Apfelbaum’s (a stamp collecting concern located in Pennsylvania).


JANUARY 1966 — “Black Friday” is the name which the Philadelphia Police Department has given to the Friday following Thanksgiving Day. It is not a term of endearment to them. “Black Friday” officially opens the Christmas shopping season in center city, and it usually brings massive traffic jams and over-crowded sidewalks as the downtown stores are mobbed from opening to closing.

This year proved to be no exception — especially at Apfelbaum’s. The pace was hectic and the traffic was heavy.

The term had to do with shopping alright. But for the Philadelphia PD is was not something they looked forward to. For them it was a dark day with horrific traffic jams and lots of people problems in the downtown area. On this day, the police were forced to work a twelve-hour day.

The term “Black Friday” was eventually adopted by retailers and was presented to shoppers as a good thing. However, looking at the ads last week (and this week also) some retailers have advertised “Black Friday Deals All Month Long.”


How busy are you with shopping this year? In the midst of all the things about buying more “stuff” there is another Friday you need to be thinking about. This particular Friday doesn’t come around every year like that day after Thanksgiving .

This is a Friday that happened only once. It took place about 1986 years ago. Note, I did not write that it took place in 1986–but 1986 years ago.

The great event of this day took place just outside the city walls of Jerusalem. A man from the city of Nazareth in Galilee died on a Roman cross
that day
. A number of people had followed him for the previous three years. But most of them were scattered and disillusioned on that Friday.

That Friday was indeed a dark day. Black. Foreboding. Tragic.

But Sunday was coming. Darkness turned to glory. Foreboding to victory. Tragedy to joy. The same Jesus who died on that Black Friday was raised from the dead on that glorious Sunday.

These many years later we memorialize the death that took place on that Friday. We observe the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week. That is something in which to rejoice. You can hold on to that after all the toys and other stuff purchased at the stores are broken and gone.

This is something that remains. Observe it. Hold to it. Hope in it.

Blessings to all,