HOUSTON – Churches in Texas and Washington have put a spiritual spin on one of the most commercial holidays of the year. Since 2010, “Bless Friday” has provided an alternative to frenzied Christmas shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. Churches are preparing service projects that honor Christ at Christmas to take place Friday, November 25. These churches are asking families and individuals to celebrate Bless Friday as an alternative to Black Friday.
Trinity Church of God, located in a small town of 2,700 residents in rural east Texas is joining Bless Friday this year. Members will prepare and deliver comfort baskets for residents at the local nursing home. “We want to begin our Christmas celebration by serving others just as Jesus did. Placing the focus on Jesus at the beginning of Christmas transforms how we experience the whole season,” said Pastors Jack and Debbie Black.
Houston area churches’ efforts will include blessing a local medical clinic ministry, Casa el Buen Samaritano, by supporting its annual Christmas tradition of delivering cookies to patients and their families; sending congregants to The Beacon, a homeless shelter established by Christ Church Cathedral; providing crafts and Christmas decorations at Vita-Living homes for the intellectually challenged; cleaning up parks and public spaces and walking door-to-door to spread God’s love and pass out produce in an economically challenged community.
At-home activities include packing rice and beans for the Fuentes Food Pantry and making no-sew pillows for the Seafarer’s Mission at the Port of Houston. Participating churches include Memorial Drive and The Woodlands Community Presbyterian churches, St. John the Divine and St. Francis Episcopal churches, the West University Baptist and Crosspoint churches and the Beacon of Light Christian Center.
Parishioners at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Seattle will help the homeless at St. Vincent de Paul of Seattle food bank.
Chuck Fox, founder of Bless Friday, invited other churches to take up the mantle and participate.
“At a time when fault lines in our country have been exposed, Christians across the political spectrum are uniting in Christ by serving our communities. You don’t have to be a member of these churches to participate. Just pick an activity that honors Christ, gather together your family and friends and start your Christmas celebration with service,” said Fox.
Bless Friday was founded in 2010 in Houston to change the way Americans celebrate Christmas.