Usually Christmas just annoys me. Yep, I said it. It’s not just the secular consumerism, it’s the way Church treats Christmas, too. I usually just try to keep my head down and make it through until January when sanity is restored and all that is good and right returns. But this year was different.
This year is one of the first years I’ve been able to buy presents for people and not feel like I’m risking missing meals to do it. Seriously. Yet, this Christmas has caused me to think about sacrifice quite often. I didn’t really do all my shopping at once. Partly because I might have gone crazy if I did, and partly because I did it on weeks corresponding with paychecks. Buy a few toys here, a few other things there. Whatever you do, don’t stop and count the cost until they’re wrapped!
I started thinking about how I’d do it next year, trying to save money ahead of time. Then I wondered that if I actually had a few hundred dollars set aside if I’d actually spend it all at once if I did all my shopping in the same day. Would seeing the lump sum cause me to be less generous? Would the voice in the back of my head saying “You need a new laptop” win out if I spent $200 in one day instead of over several weeks? Would I even be able to save that much money for Christmas presents without touching it over the months preceding Christmas, or would my selfishness get the better of me? The idea of saving money makes sense to me. So does the idea of saving money for the possibility of giving it away. But, saving money knowing I’m going to give it away in some form or fashion before the end of the year? Part of me likes this idea, and part of me battles with it.
Yet each time I’ve come to this battle, I think of how it must have been for Jesus. I’m going into the next year knowing that I can and should save up to give away. Jesus stepped out of Heaven and adorned flesh to pursue the reconciliation of His people through His death on the cross. He didn’t have to count the cost and wonder what the lump sum would be at the end. He was always fully God and fully Man, and He knew the cost required for our atonement would be His life. And he embraced His cross. He embraced His sacrifice.
It is in His sacrifice we find our freedom.
It is in His resurrection we find the purpose of Advent.