Making Cents Out of Christmas

According to ShopperTrak, consumers spent an estimated $10.4 billion in stores on Black Friday and $1.8 billion on Thanksgiving.  There is more.  CNN just released figures that online sales on Cyber Monday most likely will reach $3 billion for the first time, making it the largest single day for digital sales in history.
Hearing the “good news” (my sarcasm) of historic sales, I wanted to scream, “What about Christmas?”  We all know when it comes to our society celebrating Christmas, it is not about the miracle of Christ’s birth.  In reality it comes down to whether or not the retailers can get out of the “red” and into the “black”.
It is no surprise to understand that Christmas is not defined by money or retail goals, but by the incredible miracle of Christ’s birth.  Christmas is much more than just the birth of a baby.  It is when God became a man.  The miracle we call the Incarnation.  How will this amazing truth change your life?
I am having the privilege of discipling a young Millennial right now.  He recently came out of church with us and said, “I just got kicked in the stomach!”  Curious about what he was processing, I asked for clarification.  It was quite simple really.  God spoke to him, he was under conviction and he needed to make some changes.  I love what I saw in this young disciple as he wrestled with life-changing truth.
Truth.  The Incarnation of Christ is the ultimate and final disclosure of the eternal God.  Can you grasp that?  It answers for us the mystery of who God is, what God is like, and what God wants.  The Incarnation is the self-revelation of God Himself, the pre-existent Son of God and the second person of the Trinity taking human form.  Jesus is the “fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9).  In the Incarnation, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 NKJV).  The Word here is the name of the Eternal God and the flesh is the designation of a time-bound human being in contrast to God.  God sent His Son born of a woman.  Yet the Word, who is God, continues to be what He was before becoming flesh (John 1:1).  Try to explain all that to the National Federation of Retailers.

I always like to ask the question after hearing something profound, “So what?  How does that impact my life?”   You know, there is a result to this incredible intervention of God into the world who was “made in human likeness” (Philippians 2:7).  First, the eternal love of God is revealed to the entire world in its fullest expression, so all that believe will have eternal life (John 3:16).  Second, He who shared of flesh and blood (Hebrews 2:14) causes those who believe to share in the same divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).  Third, Jesus who committed no sin was made sin that those who believe might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Lastly, Jesus who came to reconcile the world unto Himself has given to those who believe the work of reconciliation to a lost world (2 Corinthians 5:19).

Pat Phinney
My prayer for us this Christmas is that our celebration would go far beyond traditional cultural symbols such as profit margins, decorative lights, festive parties and lavish gift-giving.  May your focus be upon the celebration of the “Gift of God” that is meant to provide eternal life for all who sincerely seek Him.  I enjoy the thought that the Eternal One loves this broken world more than I can even imagine.
I am so blessed to serve as your Regional Director for CB North Central.  Karen and I would like to wish you and your family a wonderful Christ-filled Christmas.  We look forward to serving you for years to come.
Pat Phinney
CBNC Regional Director