Christmas: The Drain on Bank Accounts
Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan, is not a big fan of Christmas. Being very reluctant to part with any of his money, the Christmas Season cramps Ed’s determination to be tight-fisted. Buying presents depresses Ed so much that he leaves the shopping to Ruby, his wife. “Opposites attract so that ‘the shopper’ type and ‘the don’t buy it’ type, always connect to live unhappily ever after,” is a common statement of Ed in any season.
When Ed called last, I had just returned from the bank. I told him I needed to send out Christmas gifts to children and grandchildren. Since we are far from our family, money is our gift that allows them to buy their Christmas presents themselves. We have found all ages seem to enjoy getting cash. Ed shuddered at the idea of draining bank accounts to celebrate Christmas. He contends that Christmas gifts should be limited to a handshake or a hug. Then everyone could smile knowing that their bankroll is unhurt.
For many the Christmas Season, does seem to be about gift giving and the drain on bank accounts. No law says we must give presents at Christmas. For many, gift giving is at the heart of Christmas, the activity that makes it unique and meaningful. If a person was to advocate no Christmas presents, he or she might be viewed as some weird or wacko character. Such an opinion would be a voice crying in the wilderness. For many would want the person to stop campaigning for- no-gift-giving at Christmas. They would demand the person repent of such a joy killing proposal.
It seems that we are very reluctant to change the things we enjoy. We do not want to modify the way we do things or the way we are as individuals. We are not reluctant about seeing how others should change. When others refuse to change, we may label them as stubborn or set in their ways. In the Old Testament, God sent prophets to his people at various times, because they needed to change their thinking and acting. It is so hard for us to change, God often needs to give us a nudge or a push.
John the Baptist was sent by God to change the thinking of the people about the Messiah promised by God. John called the people to repent by being baptized by him in the Jordan River while confessing their sin. John proclaimed that one was coming after him was mightier than himself. One able to baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. He would be able separate his own wheat from the chaff. (Know the motives people’s hearts in his final judgment)
The time was at hand for God to send his long-promised Savior or Messiah. Jesus was coming to save people from their sin. Many folks could admit they were sinners in need of a Savior from God, and many could not admit it. Religious leaders like the Pharisees and Sadducees were confident they did not need to change for they were children of Abraham. They saw others needing to change as sinners but not themselves.
God’s Christmas gift for everyone is His Son, Jesus Christ, the Savior. The best gift possible for sinners.