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A Costly Christmas

December 14, 2021

Last week I went shopping for Christmas gifts.

When I say shopping, I mean the old school, in-person kind of shopping. It’s very seldom I visit a mall, but I feel nostalgia for retail shopping around the holidays.

This is probably because I spent seven holiday seasons working in a retail environment. I still remember being at the mall early on crowded Black Fridays, serving hurried customers, and helping replenish items to already overstocked shelves. It might sound strange, but I actually enjoyed being in the middle of the chaos that comes with the Christmas shopping season.

While many will shop online this year, the total amount people will spend is staggering. If you combine both in person and online shopping, it’s estimated that Americans will spend about $843 billion on retail items alone this holiday season (statistics from the National Retail Federation).

One thing that’s universally true:

Christmas costs a lot, and it costs more this year than it ever has before.

I hope that in the midst of the shopping, the decorations, the Santa Claus visits, and the stressful work parties, you’ll pause to reflect on the real reason we celebrate.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son”—the most valuable gift this world has ever seen (John 3:16, ESV). Jesus was born in a manger in Bethlehem and dwelt among us.

Even today, the most costly part of Christmas is the gift given back in Bethlehem more than 2,000 years ago.

So, when you’re at the mall shopping for a gift, checking out on Amazon, or looking at your bank statement this year, let’s stop to think about how much Christmas really did cost and why we celebrate it.

For to us a child is born,

to us a son is given;

and the government shall be upon his shoulder,

and his name shall be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

– Isaiah 9:6


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