The guard on my train this morning was very cheerful. Don’t get me wrong – the staff on GWR train that takes me to work early in the morning are more than often cheery and up for a bit of banter, but today she was very bright and bubbly.
‘It’s Friday,’ she said with a big grin. I grinned back: ‘I’m guessing you’ve got the weekend off.’ ‘I have’, she replied with an even bigger grin.
There is something tangible in the air on a Friday. When I used to work weekends for BBC Wiltshire, it used to be a bit of a weird feeling when people around me were celebrating the end of the week when it was – technically – only the middle of mine. But I understood the statement.
I often use the hashtag #10000Reasons. It’s a phrase from a song by Matt Redman which talks about how we have thousands and thousands of reasons to be thankful to God for. I know not all of you share the same kind of faith as me but I know equally that you’re people who understand the principle of appreciating what you have rather than hankering after what you have not.
A friend and I were having a mock-rant yesterday about the sometimes too picture-perfect lives that appear on social media. ‘I’m convinced,’ she said, ‘That they are sometimes just the same as me by the end of the day, rocking in the corner and reaching for the wine.’ I’m sure they are.
I love Christmas but this year it’s going to be difficult. Christmas is a lovely season – I love the reason for it but heartily detest the consumer-binge fest it has become. When people are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Christmas televisual offerings or a lorry that’s essentially selling a sugary drink, I feel sad that we’ve lost something. When so many adverts are offering up images of the perfect Christmas implying that without this product or that lifestyle, you won’t have reached the acceptable standard, many of us will be doomed to failure. That’s not Christmas.
Today is Black Friday. Never was anything so aptly named. It’s ironic that a spending splurge which leaves grown men and women fighting over a discounted TV in a shop, follows a day in the USA, where people have been encouraged to be thankful for what they have.
Black Friday encourages a love of things, rather than people. It encourages a hankering for things we don’t necessarily need rather than to appreciate what we have.
Today I’m making an appointment with friends at work to walk across the road to a cafe and splurge out a massive amount of cash for Black Friday. We will buy Christmas coffees or chocolates and probably accidentally buy cakes. More importantly, we will laugh, spend time together out of the office and remind ourselves why friends matter. In the midst of a difficult week that’s more than enough to say thank you. In fact, it’s enough to say thank you ten thousand times…