For the last several weeks and months, every morning I open the newspaper to read that the economy is doing badly; that the Indian economy grew by less than 5 percent in 2019 and that perhaps worse is to come. Newspaper headlines come to life in other ways ; at the market , a lot of vegetables are unaffordable although it is onions that we are reading about, the household help asks for a raise, though I haven’t got one in some years and over all , the Christmas season is one that is heavy on the pocket. Now one may ask what have these things got to do with Christmas. Nothing on the surface, except that they made sit up and think of the cost that the various characters of the Christmas characters had paid. financial perhaps, but also other costs too.
As we concentrate on the biblical characters in the cast of the first Christmas drama we realize each of them had to pay a cost. Joseph and Mary had a massive cost. It cost them a great deal of anxiety and loss of reputation. Joseph had to be shocked by the news that Mary was with child. Mary would also be offended by his doubt, and heavy with exasperation in trying to rationalize the virgin birth. It cost them the security of home to get to Bethlehem, and even more so during their exile in Egypt. They were not ready for such a commotion in their lives.
We would all choose to focus on the heavenly hosts rather than the animosity of Herod. We would instead point to the manger, the Magi, and the missives from heaven rather than this unpleasant picture of the murder of the Holy Innocents. But that was a component of the cost of Christmas. Light came into the world, but men loved darkness rather than light, and the consequence has been war between the powers of light and darkness. Herod tried to kill Christmas by killing Christ, and this terrible denunciation of God’s gift has persisted all through history. Christmas has cost droves of people their lives down the centuries. But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord, and so it is worth the cost. Even if Christmas costs you your life it is the deal of a lifetime, for to die in Christ is gain, for in Christ there is victory over death.
Director of Public Engagements at the International Justice Mission, New Delhi and
Chairman of TRACI