My $2.22 Christmas Tree
My wife and I were preparing to celebrate our first Christmas together when we purchased a beautiful live tree for the church parsonage. That night I started coughing.
Around 2:00 in the morning I tossed the tree out the front door.
As a kid I had suffered from asthma and our family converted to an artificial Christmas tree. I was certain enough time had passed and the live tree would not be a problem. But I was wrong, and the next morning our neighbors saw the strange sight of the preacher’s Christmas tree in the front yard of the parsonage. Christmas was three weeks away.
I don’t think I ever explained what happened to the neighbors. They were used to preachers doing strange things.
The next weekend my wife and I drove to a nearby town to shop for artificial Christmas trees. We found a 7 foot Scottish Pine on sale for $80.00. At the time, $80.00 was a huge chunk of change for a luxury, but we didn’t want to miss our first Christmas celebration so we made the purchase.
Last weekend we put up our tree. It’s the same one we bought on that emergency Christmas run 36 years ago. The good news is, after 36 years, the cost-per-year of our $80.00 tree has been reduced to $2.22! Oh, there are a few limbs missing, and the tree has lost some of its fluff. But at this point, we like having it around.
The price of our tree has been offset by the years we have used it. In contrast, the Christ we celebrate at Christmas paid a price once and for all, and after thousands of years the cost has not diminished in the least. As Paul writes in Romans 6:10, “The death He died, He died to sin once for all.”
There will never need to be another Christ.
Or another payment.
The price was paid once for all, and continues to cover sinners with grace, even though the earth’s population has exploded since the day Jesus died on the cross.
As we calculate the cost of Christmas this year we need to put “door-buster” deals, Internet discounts, bonus coupons and credit card points in perspective.
God spared no expense. He pulled out all the stops for the first Christmas so the world would know His plan for the redemption of mankind was unfolding. Years later, His Son hung dying on Calvary as a substitute for sinners.
Christmas has always been incredibly expensive.
Long before it turned into a commercial bonanza, God gave His best.
Anything we try to add to the celebration is just trimming on the tree.
It is impossible to outspend God at Christmas. The best we can do is share our blessings with others so they will know His Son too.
I need to go, now. I have some old ornaments and lights I need to put on our tree.
But that’s another story.