“The term “Cyber Monday” is a neologism invented by Shop.org, part of the U.S. trade association National Retail Federation. It was first used within the ecommerce community during the 2005 holiday season. According to Scott Silverman, the head of Shop.org, the term was coined based on research showing that 78% of online retailers reported a significant increase in sales on the Monday after Thanksgiving in 2004. In late November 2005, the New York Times reported that “The name Cyber Monday grew out of the observation that millions of otherwise productive working Americans, fresh off a Thanksgiving weekend of window shopping, were returning to high-speed Internet connections at work Monday and buying what they liked.”” From wikipedia.org
We live in a high tech world. There are not many anymore in this society who live without computers, cell phones, and other nifty technical gadgets which supposedly make our lives easier. Many of us do most things over the computer now (the younger generation even more so than the ‘slightly’ older folks), from working, to socializing, to playing, to banking, to shopping. Through the internet, we are connected to almost anyone and anything on this planet. The world is at our fingertips, so to speak.
How ironic that, in this day and age, the coming of Christ is kicked off with big sales events; how ironic that the first Monday of the Advent season is better known and anticipated as Cyber Monday, even among Christians. We feel the tug and pull of commerce as Christmas approaches. And, as I have to admit, I am not immune against the lure of a good deal on Christmas presents online.
As a church, we are in this world, but not of this world, as the Apostle Paul writes. We live here and now. After all, this IS God’s world, and if we believe that everything was and is created through God, we have to assume that technology is part of God’s ever creative spirit. However, I think we ought to be careful how we use technology – and how much we use it. We have to be careful that our admiration of technology doesn’t turn into idol worship.
As Christians, we take part in Cyber World. There are amazing opportunities to connect with people, even to evangelize, through this medium. But I hope we never forget that the virtual cyber world is merely a shadow of the ‘real’, tangible world we live in. God became incarnated, which means God came into the flesh – to be seen and heard and touched. God knows about the importance of immediate contact between God and people, and then between human beings. May we, on this Cyber Monday, and while we possibly try to get the best deals online, not forget about reaching out to God, who wants to be touched – and reaching out to our fellow human beings, friends, family, strangers. In touching them, we will be touched by God.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercy of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12, 1-2, NRSV
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