Today is the day of anticipation for shoppers; of high anticipation for retailers. It's a day of frenzy as shoppers chase after enticing sales, bargain hunters seek out the best deals, and merchants gratefully watch their bottom lines pull out of the red with each crack of the wallet or swipe of a card. Hence, this day has been colloquially named Black Friday.
If you are reading this hot off the press, perhaps you were the early bird who hit those red-eye sales before the crowds. Maybe you're turning to the paper for a little light reading before you go back to bed and sleep off the rummy bliss of a season's shopping already completed. Or could it be that you have bags of Christmas bargains stashed away in the trunk and you're scanning the ads for one more deal to hit before you go home? Or perhaps you're the type that avoids the long lines at the check-out counters and ordered online so those delivery drivers can do the shuffling for you.
No matter what your Black Friday looks like today, you are likely reading this article as a pursuer or as one who has already conquered the season's pursuit. If there's anything this day truly highlights, it our human inclination to always be on a quest for something - something more, something bigger, something better. We not only chase after good deals on the sales racks, we pursue education, employment, better health, more wealth. We pursue raising families which can lead to the hunt for an upgraded car or an addition to the house.
And in the midst of all that chasing after dreams which are ever-changing and shifting, there is One who is always chasing after us.
"For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out" (Ezekiel 34:11).
God is in pursuit of us, each and every day. He seeks to be known by us. To have relationship with us. To love us. But as we preoccupy ourselves with the chase for those things that have gripped our own hearts, we continually move away from the God whose heart has always been set on us. And so the chase is on. The dog chasing the cat chasing the mouse.
"Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?" the Psalmist observes in his meditations (Psalm 139:7-8). He has essentially stopped the chase. He's turned his face to God and finds comfort in His ever-presence.
In this crazy and hurried season, how might we all take a few moments to allow ourselves a break from pursuing to embrace being pursued? How might we set aside the hunt for earthly collections to turn our hearts and minds toward a divine relationship?
God is not static. He is always moving, and moving toward you! He's not waiting for you to find Him through some divine game of Hide And Seek. He's just waiting for you to notice that He's already there.
Might you find warmth in the Lord's presence this season? Will there be a light to brighten the dark corners of your life? Could you find refreshment to quench your personal drought?
How will you ever know if you don't abandon the chase?
Theresa Danley is commissioned lay pastor of Milk River Churches, comprising First Presbyterian Church of Havre, Presbyterian Church of Chinook, Chinook United Methodist Church, Chinook American Lutheran Church.