The Cost head image

The Cost

December 10, 2023

Dr. Paul Cannings

Have you ever received a picture from your children that they were so proud of, but it is truly a child’s painting? Lots of scratches and various colors that did not match, but they were so excited to give it to you because it was their best. You took the picture; you kissed and hugged them; you put it on the refrigerator and gave them many encouraging remarks. The picture did not matter as much as making sure the child knew that you appreciated them and wanted them to be self-confident about what they did.

Corrie Ten Boom used to tell a story about an old monk who sang a Christmas song every Christmas Eve for his monastery brothers and visitors who would come from the village for the special services. His voice was horrid, but he loved the Lord and sang from his heart. One year, the director of the cloister said, “I’m sorry, Brother Don, we will not need you this Christmas. We have a new monk who has a beautiful voice.” 

The man sang beautifully, and everyone was happy. But that night, an angel came to the director and said, “Why didn’t you have a Christmas Eve song?” The director was amazed. “We had a beautiful song,” he replied. “Didn’t you hear it?” The angel shook his head sadly. “It may have been inspiring to you, but we didn’t hear it in heaven.”  “You see,” Corrie would say, “the old monk with the raspy voice had a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus, but the young monk was singing for his own benefit, not for that of the Lord.”

Jesus Christ was not wrapped in the best Christmas paper. He was born in a manager; shepherds and wise men, not kings and governors, came to see Him. He was born to a poor carpenter family and grew up in a low-income community. It is interesting to see who Christ was highly appreciative of gifts such as those given by a sinful woman (Luke 7:40-50), the widow and her mite, a Jewish coin (Mark 12:41-44), the love shown by Mary (John 12:1-8), and a crown of thorns given by those who hate Him (Hebrews 12:2). Not every disciple chosen by Christ was well-educated or came from well-to-do families. Some of them were from the lower class, but He made them great apostles because of their willing hearts. The value of the gift is not in the price but in the cost. It is what it costs the person and the relationship that person has with the receiver. The widow’s mite meant a lot to Christ because of the cost. God’s gift to man was born poor, and it cost God His Son’s life. Man would not value Jesus, as a carpenter’s son, as much, but to God, the cost of Christ’s life is the most incredible gift man can ever have.

When we give or receive a gift this holiday, the question is, what did it cost you, and what makes it unique? The answer to this question makes the season an accurate representation of the perfect gift, Christ (Philippians 2:1-5).