Each year I climb the loft ladders into my attic to retrieve the Christmas decorations.
Sometimes I cast my eyes on discarded, unused items that have been stored there and are gathering dust, an old typewriter, some stainless steel dishes and ancient squash and badminton racquets.
In addition to the issue of some using expensive credit to pay for Christmas, did you know over the festive season, £2.4 billion is spent on unwanted Christmas presents? Someone has estimated that every UK adult will have been given up to two presents they did not want this Christmas, each worth £48.41 on average.
A third of unwanted gifts end up gathering dust in the loft or the back of a cupboard, 15 per cent are given away to someone else, and two per cent are binned.
Half of us are too polite to express our true feelings about undesired presents and will thank the giver enthusiastically!
Ten per cent of people will ask for a receipt so they can exchange an unwanted gift, but only four per cent will be honest about what they think of the gift.
Hamish Stone, from Gumtree.com, said: “From our research it’s clear that despite many people’s best efforts, homes across the UK are going to be cluttered with lots of unwanted Christmas presents this year.”
No doubt that is good news for Gumtree and eBay. I wonder if you will get something you don’t want or need?
Christmas gifts are meant to emulate the first gift of Christmas – not the Gold, Frankincense or Myrrh but the gift of Jesus himself the son of God. The Bible tells us how Jesus was born through the action of the Holy Spirit so that Mary would give birth to a human being who was of the essence of God. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only son” says John 3.
The first gift of Christmas is Jesus, the most expensive gift is Jesus, and the gift was given because of God’s love for humanity. Yes he gave Jesus because he loved us – not because he had to. What a gift – to make yourself humble, vulnerable, mortal, from being all powerful to becoming a baby. Jesus came to bring us things we really do want and need.
We all want to know there is eternal life – we want to know there is a purpose to life and that we are not pointless accidents in the vastness of space. In a world of greed and need, war and violence we need love and the world needs love – real caring practical love and Jesus shows us how and Jesus gives us power to love. Jesus came to save us from the consequences of our moral poverty – he came to forgive and restore and save us. “A Saviour” is what he is called – and we all need saving from our failings to love and keep God’s laws. Jesus came to introduce us into a personal relationship with God.
But just like the Christmas presents we get given some do not want Jesus – some come right out and say it – the Richard Dawkins of this life. Others even though they are too polite to say it demonstrate this by leaving Jesus in the loft or the back of the cupboard of their lives gathering dust and maybe bringing him out once a year at Christmas. All the churches of Buxton invite you to worship him with us at one of our services, but we would ask what will you do with Jesus – the most expensive – the most important gift this Christmas, once the season has passed?
Team Rector and Rural Dean, Buxton