For many Australian families, Christmas is a time for celebration, family, friends and gift-giving. . . but inevitably, it can be costly! With festive purchases like food, entertainment and presents, it is the season of spending for the average Australian.
- According to the Australian Retailers Association and Roy Morgan Research Australians were expected to spend over $50 billion this coming Christmas period (2018).
- Interestingly, according to the song ‘The 12 days of Christmas’ – if we were to buy all the gifts in that song – the estimated price tag would total $34,558.65, compared with $34,363.49 last year (as reported in the PNC Financial Services Group 34th annual Christmas price index).
- The study also found that men and women tend to have different buying habits when it comes to gift giving. While 76 per cent of women start shopping at least a month before Christmas, 23 per cent of men will leave shopping until just a few days before Christmas.
- In 2017 the average spend across Australia for Christmas gifts was $593 per person (according to the Commonwealth Banks’ study).
- However, the research also found that spending varied from state to state. South Australia and Northern Territory spend the most on Christmas gifts, followed by Victoria and Tasmania. Queensland rounds out the bottom of the list, spending an average of $508 per person for Christmas gifts.
- Australians were touted to also spend upwards of $17.9 billion between December 26 and mid-January.
- The scary part is that 40% of the total Christmas spend was expected to be on credit cards – that is sadly (and in most cases), money people do not have!
- Even with the prospect of cash gifts for Christmas, many Australians still choose to use their credit cards for their Christmas spending. According to Canstar, in the period of November to December 2017, Australians racked up $3,342 on average on their credit cards.
- According to MoneySmart research, 82 per cent of people with credit card debt accrued over the Christmas period, take longer than 12 months to pay it off. 4.11 per cent take between six and 24 months, and 4 per cent take more than two years. The remaining 3 per cent struggle to pay it off at all.
So, this Christmas – what will it cost YOU?
It was costly for GOD:
- It cost Him “separation” – Like an egg, for the separation of the shell, yoke or white to take place, it has to be broken.
- It was “risky” – Childbirth and infant mortality rates 2,000 years ago was very high, and the risks were great.
- He will always bear the marks of the crucifixion into eternity.
It was costly for Mary:
- It jeopardised her “reputation” – Mary was probably somewhere between 12 and 16 years old – and the punishment for having a child outside of wedlock was to be stoned!
- It probably cost her “friendships”, many of her peer group and friends did not believe her.
- It cost her in the “physical pain of childbirth”.
- The 90 mile (144km) journey (8-10 days walking)… on a donkey… when she was 9 months pregnant would have been hard. Oh! and it also would have cost the donkey!
It was costly for the Magi:
- These weren’t “three wise men”, these were a whole group of Astronomers who left home (the East) for (probably) a year… to follow the star to Bethlehem.
It was costly for the Shepherds:
- They “left their flocks” (and their jobs) and went to find the baby.
It was costly for Joseph:
- His reputation could have been sullied.
- He might have found it impossible to find employment in the future.
- It is possible that Joseph was a widow before marrying Mary and was still grieving.*
*There is no Scriptural record of Joseph being a widower however; both Eastern Orthodox tradition as well as the Eastern Catholic tradition tell us that he was. In fact, it is possible that the Scriptural references to Jesus’ brothers and sisters could, in fact, be references to children of Joseph by his first marriage.
It was costly for the Innkeeper:
- He would have been “out-of-pocket”.
- His reputation might have been effected – housing an unmarried couple in his motel.
- Allowing a birth to take place in a stable carried health and insurance risks.
It was (very) costly for the parents of the children who were under 2 years old that were slaughtered by Herod:
- Can you imagine the grief / anger / cost.
- It would have had an effect on the local schooling / synagogues.
- There would have been an absence of males in the peer group.
- It may have caused hatred towards Jesus and His family.
- Would not have been surprised if these were some of the people who cried: “Crucify him!”
But what will it cost you...this Christmas?