Is Good Friday the one holiday that's immune to the sort of commercialization that's plagued Christmas, Easter, and just about every other religious holiday you can think of? A stirring piece by David Rensberger at Beliefnet argues that today--Good Friday--is the one Christian holiday that our consumer culture can't easily commercialize:
Good Friday is the one Christian “holiday” that the wider culture, even in America, has not taken up. It is the one holy day whose Christian significance cannot be bleached out to leave a commercially viable residue. Christmas can be for children and families, for shopping, for feasting. Easter can be bunnies and baby chicks, the newness of spring and a whole lot of chocolate. Even a couple of days marked out to honor saints in some Christian traditions—Valentine, Patrick—have been pretty much entirely taken over by a culture of romance and hedonism, sex and shopping.
Not this day. There is nothing marketable about Good Friday. Suffering, sacrifice, injustice, betrayal—what’s to celebrate? What’s to shop for? Who could pig out on a day like that?
Good Friday really does have a different feel, doesn't it? It's somber and reflective; there is a grand celebration on the horizon (this coming Sunday), but today is different. Today we don't exchange gifts or buy cards. Today we reflect on the cost of our salvation.
I won't wish you a "happy Good Friday," because even antipating the joy of Christ's resurrection, this isn't a happy day. Instead, I hope you'll have a reflective Good Friday. In two days, when we celebrate the most amazing event in human history, our greetings of "happy Easter!" will be all the more meaningful if we've first taken time to ponder the sober message of Good Friday.
Have a reflective Good Friday, then, and a blessed Easter.