Christmas Thoughts – The Cost of Christmas (Part 3) by Pastor Carl W. Mann, II
Luke 2:1-7 (KJV) “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”
Yes, there is always a “Cost” for celebrating Christmas. Last week, we discussed some of the cost that Joseph was willing to bear. Joseph and Mary were not the only ones that bore a “cost” in the “First Christmas.”
As you look at today’s Scriptures, you will notice a meaningful statement, Luke 2:7 (KJV) “And she bought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn” (Emphasis Mine).
Most of us, who celebrate Christmas, have seen various “Christmas Plays” and heard Christmas stories that centered around Joseph, and a very pregnant Mary, seeking lodging in Bethlehem. It has been told that after searching high and low throughout Bethlehem, Joseph made his way to the “Last Inn” in Bethlehem only to discover that it was full of guests. So, the innkeeper allowed them to stay in his nearby stable.
Most “Christmas Plays” present an uncaring innkeeper who dismisses the needs of Joseph and Mary. There have even been “actors” who were reluctant to play the part of the “Innkeeper” because they did not want to act like they were rejecting Jesus!
There were most probably NO inns (hotels) in Bethlehem. Bethlehem was a very small, seemingly insignificant town in Judea. The Greek word for “inn” (kataluma) would be more appropriately translated “guest room.” Many “guest rooms” were “upper rooms” where family and other “travelers” were afforded hospitality in the Eastern tradition.
Because of the influx of family members, and other travelers, entering Bethlehem in obedience to Rome’s decree, all the “guest rooms” were full. Therefore, when Joseph arrived at his kinsman’s home, the only place there was room was in the lower level of the house that served as the “manger,” or in the “manger” out back of the house.
Nonetheless, there was a great “cost” of personal comfort and convenience that was a consequence of the “First Christmas!” The Christmas Holiday often precipitates problems with travel plans and hotel accommodations. I wonder how many who experience such “Costs” are reminded that Joseph and Mary experienced the same?
“Travel” is a genuine “Cost of Christmas.” Joseph and Mary made a journey of 4 – 5 days to Bethlehem. That was a “far journey” with a lot of “Cost.” BUT, Jesus made the farthest journey. He left His place at the Right Hand of His Father in Heaven and journeyed into a lost and dying world for one purpose – to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).
Jesus willingly took on human flesh knowing full well what would result in His being “made flesh.” His “Cost” would be rejection, mocking, torture, and crucifixion. Yet, He still chose to come into this world to pay the “Cost of Redemption.”
Oftentimes, the “Cost of Christmas” is evidenced in the pain that is experienced when a loved one cannot be present. One of my favorite Christmas songs is “I’ll be Home for Christmas.” Whenever I hear it, I have empathy with those who are missing loved ones that will not be present to celebrate the Christmas Holiday.
There was great “Cost of Christmas!” The Father watched His Son leave Heaven so we could be saved. Yes, there is always a “Cost” for celebrating Christmas!