December 1, 2008

“Paying for Christmas”
by Pastor George Van Alstine

I guess we all get a bit starry-eyed as we look forward to Christmas.  The little child in each of us holds onto those “visions of sugarplums” we experienced as the wonderful day approached (even though most of us have never had sugarplums).  Now that we’re adults, we still feel the building excitement as we count down to December 25.

But if we were starry-eyed before Christmas, we are likely to get bleary-eyed a few days after Christmas, when we begin to look at the bills from all the gifts, decorations and holiday foods we’ve bought.  This year, with the reality of an economic recession weighing down all of us, the starry-eyed phase may give way to the bleary-eyed phase more quickly than usual.  Some of us may still be paying off large purchases made last Christmas, and now our financial burden will become even heavier.

Yes, there is a cost to Christmas.  The jolly fat man with the white beard will not bail us out.  Whether we’re naughty or nice, we’ll have to pay the bills.

Let me tell you who must pay for Christmas more than all of us.  The Lord Jesus Christ came into the world as an energetic, lively Baby, full of the hope that comes with every newborn.  Of course, in his case the anticipation was far greater, being expressed by prophets throughout Old Testament history. And the gifts he brought would potentially mean the eternal salvation of every human person on earth. This is why the angels and shepherds and wise men were so full of joy.

But what a price he had to pay after Christmas!  For the three years of his ministry, his lofty message of hope and renewal fell, for the most part, on deaf ears.  Then there was a period of open rejection, ridicule and abuse by leaders and people alike.  Finally, the crowds turned him over to the Roman torturers and executioners.  The cross is our symbol to remind us of the price Jesus had to pay.

You see, on Christmas he entered into a human body to be close to us.  But by becoming a human, he made himself vulnerable to all the hurts and heartaches humans experience.  That’s the price he paid for Christmas.  For his Christmas and ours.

Say a word of thanks that Jesus has fully paid for Christmas.  His credit with the Father is absolutely perfect.

Note: The Messenger was not sent out last week, due to the Thanksgiving holiday.