On my own this Christmas, I wanted make this time special and bring a bit of cheer to my little area of the world. So I headed to a classic Christmas consumerism staple- Target. They had seven aisles dedicated to the holiday, with mounds of ribbons and wrapping paper, tinsel and tree toppers. I admit I teared up with a lonely aching as I strolled through the ornament aisle, away from my family for the first time for the Christmas season. New territory, one I navigate alone.
To make the most of it, I collected a few items to spruce up my apartment with the Christmas cheer that always makes me full of joy and wonder. But Christmas is expensive- $7 for one ornament- $13 for a stocking that is just felt stitched together?! Ridiculous. I purchased neither, instead focusing on a few packs of multiple, generic ornaments that were much more cost effective. Add a few strands of lights, wrap two thin layers of silver garland around my Charlie Brown tree, and many Christmas songs later, the place felt cozy.
Christmas costs. Commercialism runs rampant, and retailers attempt to milk all the money you’ve set aside for Christmas on decorations alone. And they do this under the guise of making spirits bright. And by bright, they mean the outside lights adorning homes. In my opinion, it’s pretty over the top and unnecessary, especially since they seem to completely erase the actual meaning of the holiday.
But I am correct, I believe, when I say Christmas costs. It always has.
It cost a young girl her reputation. Mary, who put aside her position in life as betrothed virgin to carry the Christ. Who endued accusing glances, pointed fingers and back talk. Who sacrificed a midwife and Nazarene hospital for a manger and new husband to bring their boy into the world.
It cost a new way of thinking. From the beginning, everything Jesus did was contrary to the world’s standards. The Jewish people were looking for their Messiah to enter in high and lofty hallways, gracing the world in ruler fashion. A stable, accompanied by livestock and surrounded by simple shepherds, tossed that picture right out of the window. The humble beginnings begat the inside-out teachings to follow.
It cost God His Son. The great I AM, the Word who was with God in the beginning, who led armies and went about His Father’s work in the lives of Old Testament heroes. Here He came, shrunk down to earth, limited in flesh and beginning a treacherous walk that would land Him from one wooden cradle to another. The cross, ragged, rimmed with nails.
Yes, Christmas most certainly comes at a cost. So while we relish our silent nights and the warmth of home and family, and as we stand in long checkout lines waiting to pay for our parcels, let us remember the price already weighed and purchased that gives us that anticipated peace and comfort we long for in this time of good will.
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