“Incredible deals!”, “Massive Savings!”, “Are you ready for our greatest ever one day event?”
One can always tell when it gets close to Christmas because retailers are desperate to make us part with our money…
Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) arrived on our shores from America a few years ago and are now firmly lodged in the national consciousness. After Christmas there’ll be the New Year sales (which will probably start on Boxing day) and you can almost guarantee that the sales will continue between Black Friday and Christmas anyway.
The problem is that many of these “Bargains” are anything but bargains. Remember, you’re only saving money if you were going to buy it anyway and even then, you’re only saving money if it is genuinely cheaper that it has been before. A quick price check will often reveal that retailers raise their prices before a sale so that they can then claim to be offering “massive discounts” during the sale even if the sale price is the same (or higher) than it was for most of the year! If you shop on Amazon, then the site “uk.camelcamelcamel.com” will tell you what price Amazon has been selling a product at throughout the year.
Two phrases stick in my mind at this time of year. “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” And “Sometimes the best things in life are free.”
The Christmas story is the polar opposite of the retailer’s narrative. Jesus didn’t arrive with a celebrity endorsed but credit card busting fanfare but with a low budget announcement to a group of no-hope shepherds on a remote hillside. He didn’t come with promises of “buy now, pay later” or “one day deals” but with the promise of freedom for free forever. He promised to give us life to the full in this life (John 10:10) and life eternal afterwards (John 3:16). His offer was for something money couldn’t buy, a new friendship with a loving heavenly Father – something he would give us for free and that he, himself, would pay for later on the cross.
So may you, this Christmas, be able to see beyond the glitze and glamour, the bargains and the discounts and instead see the most incredible offer ever made to mankind, the one brought to us by the arrival of the baby Jesus.
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