What is the cost of Christmas? According to a Gallup Poll, Americans are expected to spend $712 million on Christmas this year.
That’s a staggering number, but nothing I’m afraid to the real cost of Christmas. Think back to the first Christmas.
According to historians, Joseph and Mary lived in the village of Nazareth. It probably had about 480 who lived there. It’s hard to guess, but families were bigger back then.
So there might have been about 50-80 family units in that village. Probably a third or more would have been in Joseph’s peer group—25 guys. These are the guys he would have socialized with after work, at the well, in the square. And when Mary turned up pregnant, Joseph had to answer to that peer group. His credibility and integrity was forever gone. The name Joseph was now synonymous with dishonor. This was a hard pill to swallow for a man who was known as a just man.
And Mary? It was even worse. By turning up pregnant, she was subject to the judgment of the entire village: should they stone her or not? Think of the whispers throughout the village. I know, I know – it’s a double standard, but a woman’s purity, her virginity was synonymous with her character—her entire being. Her peer group of 20+ women were probably told not to associate with her. The friends she’d grown up with were no more. And even when Jesus was born, and the stories would be told of Mary and Joseph, it would always be with an asterisk. You can imagine the statements: “ha, she said the child was conceived of the Holy Spirit!”
When we think of Christmas, it’s easy to think of gifts and the amounts that we’ll spend—a mere $712 million. But the cost is so much more than that. Christmas cost friendships, reputation, integrity, credibility. Longstanding ties were ripped away and were like open wounds in a little village where there was nowhere to hide.
Oh, how we need to remember the cost! I suspect that Mary and Joseph, because of the cost, were forced to keep in the forefront of their mind the word of the Lord—the promise of the Savior. When we remember the true cost of Christmas, we value the promise so much more.
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Published December 14, 2011
Topics: Lessons with Bill