Contact Us    
The Cost of Christmas

Everett's Christmas Message, 2010

by Everett Wilson
December 21, 2010

Bookmark and Share
The Cost of Christmas



             The cost of Christmas cannot be totaled on a cash register.  No matter how much you spend this year, or cut back next year, you won't be dealing with the cost of Christmas.  The cost of Christmas, in fact, is rarely thought of in the popular celebration of Christmas;   most of us  enjoy what we pay for, and make the best of it when things do not go as hoped for or planned.  Whether we are the Depression babies of my generation or the extravagant  shoppers of the credit generation that many  of us  became (many of us have lived long enough to be both), Christmas comes anyway.  We  have always known, guiltily, what the Grinch learned--that Christmas doesn't come from a store.

            Nor is the cost of Christmas the cross of Christ. The cross and the cradle are part of one story, never to be separated but never to be confused either.  God alone, through the sacrifice of His Son, bears upon the cross the cost of the world's salvation, but this present  world must  bear the cost of Christmas, and we have barely begun to do so.  Two millennia of opportunity  have already slipped by.  We annually join the angels in their song of peace and good will, even though year by year there is less to sing about as peace becomes more unlikely and   good will   more cynical, smothered as it is in acts of espionage, deceitful politics, and wars both hot and cold.    

            So what is the cost of Christmas that the world is too frightened or  unwilling to pay?  In the biblical story of Christmas, King Herod was the one who understood it and hated it.  During the American Civil War Longfellow recognized  it and despaired as he listened to the Christmas bells, even while  Americans were killing each other in open warfare.   

Then in despair I bowed my head,

There is no peace on earth, I said,

For hate is strong and mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good will toward men. 

            For me, the cost of Christmas is eloquently stated in the conclusion of   T. S. Eliot's  "The Journey of  the Magi." An old man is remembering a difficult journey he had taken with some other "wise men from the east"  (See the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 2) when he was young.   

"This was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I have seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death."


            The Wise Man was no longer at ease in the old dispensation, but most of the world still is, even today, and pretends that it will go on forever.   

            It won't, of course.  For the Wise Man, the birth of Jesus was like death, our death—and after death comes Judgment.    

            So Christmas  costs us the world.  If we are willing to give up this temporary world,     Christ replaces it with his eternal kingdom.    "A little Christmas, right this very minute," doesn't quite cover that. 

Comments (1)

Post a Comment

Bill writes:
December 22, 2010
I have never heard or read the story of Christmas told this way....thank you, certainly makes one think in a deeper way than the way western society would wish us to ... thank you.

Send Us Your Opinion
(Comments are moderated.)
Your Name:*

Your E-Mail Address:*
(Confidential. Will not be published.)


Note: In order to control automated spam submissions, URLs are no longer permitted in this form.

Please type the letters you see above.


Bookmark and Share

Real Things
A novel.
Published January 2, 2008
Temporarily Unavailable

Real Things first appeared in serialized form on the Partial Observer in 2001. It is now available in print for the first time.

Over thirty years after a senseless crash redefined his life, Greg Thompson and his family finally learn why.

More Information
RSS Feed for Everett Wilson: RSS Feed for Everett Wilson
Sign up to receive an e-mail notice when new articles by this author are published. Your address remains confidential, and you may cancel at any time. A confirmation email will be sent.

Your e-mail address:
po Books
Now Available!

Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
by Hal Evan Caplan.

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

More Information.

More by Everett Wilson
Necessary Things, A Companion and Sequel to Real Things
Available from Amazon Books, Amazon Kindle, and Me!
by Everett Wilson, 2/16/15
Until Barrett is Free, Neither Are We
Freedom of the Press is not a whim of the state
by Everett Wilson, 2/26/14
Why the United States Will not Get Competent Universal Health Care in my Lifetime
Six Obvious Reasons
by Everett Wilson, 11/15/13
An Open Letter to Congressman Jeff Fortenberry
Clean Sweep Time
by Everett Wilson, 10/2/13
An Open Letter to Congressman Jeff Fortenberry
Clean Sweep Time
by Everett Wilson, 10/1/13
Excerpt from my new novel, Scoundrels and Fools
Chapter 5: Ellis Johnson
by Everett Wilson, 7/12/13
The Rev. Marjorie Drickey's Last Message to a Dying World
And all the trumpets sounded for her on the other side.
by Everett Wilson, 2/14/13
» Complete List (151)

RSS Feed for Everett Wilson: RSS Feed for Everett Wilson

Recently Published
View Article Nor Easter Alert
A troubling forecast for a nation in need of God
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 3/16/18
A Tribute to Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Looking back to where it all began PLUS; There Goes the Neighborhood
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 3/9/18
A Prayer for the Washington State Legislature
Remembering Billy Graham's example
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 3/2/18
A Sentry of the Past Century
Remembering Billy Graham; PLUS, Cross Words
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 2/23/18
Another St. Valentine's Day Massacre
When will the craziness stop?
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 2/16/18
Speaking of the Winter Olympics
A prayer for our athletes and our world
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 2/9/18
A Call for Respect
Lessons from the State of the Union
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 2/2/18

Get the Partial Observer's
'recently published' headlines via RSS.

RSS Feed for Recently Published PO Articles    What is RSS?
Reproduction of original material from The Partial Observer without written permission is strictly prohibited.
The opinions expressed by site contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the editors.
Copyright ©2000-2018 partialobserver.com. All rights reserved.
Home · Site Map · Top