Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Well, it's almost Christmas. The traffic is thicker and our patience is thinner. We're beginning to put one eye on the calendar and the other on the checkbook make sure that one doesn't get ahead of the other. That fear can begin to start - what if we don't have enough? Don't you miss those days as children when you never gave a thought to Christmas' cost?
My family was not wealthy by any means, but neither were we poor. Like many, we lived from week to week, knew our banker or loan officer well, and while we never lacked, we never prospered. Yet every Christmas that I can remember came and went leaving me filled with the belief that I had been blessed. If I wanted a "Johnny 7 One Man Army Gun" badly enough, it seemed to find its way to the tree. If a "Model Motoring by Aurora" racetrack caught my fancy, well, apparently Santa knew that too.
Even though I knew from my trips to the stores that such things had prices, I never concerned myself with the cost.
Yet there was a cost - a sacrifice for my parents - every year. As I grew older, I'd catch snippets of conversations about the bills, and their struggle to pay them. "What are we going to do?", I'd hear my Mother say with worry and fear coloring her voice. "I don't know, but they are going to have Christmas," replied my Father, somewhat more hopefully, but still unsure. And off they'd go to the Western Auto, or to Sears, or to somewhere else they could buy toys and pay on time.
Gradually I realized that my Christmas gifts cost them dearly. In time, in energy, in stress. My mother would cut corners - patch jeans, save pennies. My father would work overtime even after his regular swing shift. So somehow, every year there'd come Christmas. It came with a cost.
It always has.
That's why we have communion on Christmas Eve. To remember the cost.
My prayer is that as we celebrate the birth of Christ tomorrow, we remember that He came to pay the price for our sins.