Christmas. How much is it going to cost you this year? Several years ago Cecelia and I decided to budget a certain amount we would spend on each other, the four grandchildren, and six additional family members. This way we could plan and control the amount we would give.
We have generally given the same amount of money each year, but what seemed to be a rather generous gift when we started this process has become the victim of inflation. Can we consider increasing the amount we give to compensate for the lost buying power of our gift? What will it cost us if we do that?
Christmas is the most expensive time of the year. I’ve done some research into how much we Americans spend each year and am astounded at the numbers. For one thing, the amount has jumped ”big time” each year. The other thing that astounds me is the amount we Americans spend on this holiday each year! Want to take a guess? Here’s a hint: start in the billions, many, many billions. Take a look at this. https://www.google.com/search?client=avast-a-3&q=how+much+did+america+spend+on+christmas+2020&oq=How+mch+do+Americans+spend+on+Christmas%3F+&aqs=avast.6.69i57j0l7.32761j0j4&ie=UTF-8
How much does the “average” American spend for Christmas? Are you average? Here’s some information and advice from Dave Ramsey. https://www.ramseysolutions.com/budgeting/where-does-your-christmas-spending-rank
Let’s take a look at this holy day from another point of view. Let’s shift gears now from the commercial side of Christmas and focus for a few moments on what the upcoming holy day (holiday) is really about. I want to focus on this question, “What did Christmas cost God?”
Many who are followers of Jesus are celebrating Advent Season this month. Advent is the recognition of the single greatest event in human history, the moment when God became incarnate to address our sin, the greatest need of human existence. Jesus, God in human form, came to bring me and you into the very presence of and fellowship with God through the forgiveness he provides through his death and resurrection. Have you ever considered what a costly thing this was for God to do?
Have you ever truly forgiven someone? If so, you know that you paid a price to do that. Forgiveness always involves suffering on the part of the one who forgives. It means to take within yourself the hurt imposed by another. As a parent, spouse or friend you have likely suffered at the hand of those you love. Forgiving those who hurt you is a costly thing. You have to endure pain if you forgive someone. You take that pain within yourself without holding the other person accountable or seeking revenge.
Now think about that idea and how it relates to Christmas, the Advent Season. Christmas is about the cost God is willing to pay, what he is willing to suffer to restore a broken fellowship, to save us from our self and the wreck sin will make of our life. Our sin brought Jesus into the world and our sin put him on the cross because God loves us so much he was and is willing to give his only begotten son in order that we can be forgiven.
While we enjoy the trappings of Christmas and being with those we love, let’s remember that Christmas is really about the cost of forgiveness.
When is the last time you’ve really let the idea that Christmas is about God and your sin sink in? Jesus came into the world for you, to live, suffer, die, and be raised from the dead for you.
The Apostle Paul was converted as he was on the way to Damascus to persecute Christians. He never got over it. He was so deeply converted, so changed that he devoted the remainder of his life to serving Jesus.
Paul’s entire live, his present and future, were altered by what God had done at Christmas. Writing to the Philippian Christians he gives us a sense of the gratitude and devotion Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection had stirred in him.
” Whatever things were gained to me, those things I have counted loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish in order that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:8.
You know, we tend to forget how good we have life. We get used to and take for granted how very good God is to us, and the fact that he gave his Son to save us. We tend to get over the wonder and magnificence of the depth of God’s love for us. Have you gotten used to how well God loves you?
Have you gotten over it, the sense of wonder and awe when you first came to faith in Jesus? Let this Christmas be a time when you reflect on what Christmas cost God and what that says about you.