Monday, November 27, 2017

November 28, 2017

"Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" II Corinthians 9:15.

If taken literally, giving the gifts of the famed holiday song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, would cost you a fortune--and much more this year than last!

The cost of buying all 364 items repeated throughout the timeless holiday carol has gone up 6.1 percent since last year, according to the annual Christmas Price Index compiled by PNC Wealth Management. And the new retail cost of $107,300 really hurts in the biggest U.S. cities [Chicago, Los Angeles, New York], where state and local sales tax adds on as much as 9.5 percent. …

Thrifty shoppers may find some reasons for cheer. Six items mentioned in the song haven't gone up in price: maids-a-milking, ladies dancing, lords-a-leaping, calling birds, turtle doves and the partridge. The eight maids-a-milking still cost just $58.

Twelve drummers drumming ($2,775.50) and eleven pipers piping ($2,562) might also be considered relative bargains compared to seven swans, which will set you back $7,000. Nine ladies dancing will cost you $6,294.03.

Dunigan said the 2011 drought caused the prices of some birds to soar, partly because of corn and other feed costs.

"The geese were up 29.6 percent, and swans were up 11 percent," said Jim Dunigan, managing executive of investments for PNC, adding that none of the gifts in the song went down in price this year.

The price of a pear tree is $189.99, an 11.8 percent jump from last year's $169.99. Five gold rings jumped 16.3 percent this year, to $750, and three French hens are now $165, instead of $150.

The $15 partridge is the cheapest item, and swans the most expensive, at $1,000 each.

Last-minute shoppers who turn to the Internet, possibly in a bid to dodge sales tax, will pay a bit more for the gifts. Buying one set of the core items in each verse costs $24,431 in traditional stores this year, but $40,440 online. Part of that difference is the extra expense of shipping live birds, Dunigan said, adding that Internet costs rose 1.5 percent compared to last year.


Wise gift givers this year (and every year!) might do well to forgo the partridges, gold rings, and swans in favor of sharing the one gift of greatest value ... the message of salvation by grace alone through faith in the Child of Christmas ... the Lord Jesus Christ. Cost to you ... nothing. Cost to Christ ... everything. Value ... priceless!

November 27, 2017

"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:6-8

I'm sure you have noticed that God's timing is different from yours. I certainly have!

Have you ever questioned His timing? I have.

In verse six the Apostle Paul mentions God's timing, "You see, at just the right time...."

So, the Great Apostle is reminding us that God's timing is perfect.

I have to wonder if Joseph and Mary had a few doubts about God's timing when the events of Christmas began to unfold?

Could there have been a much worse time to become pregnant? Mary's pregnancy spoiled their wedding plans, scandalized both of their reputations, and potentially placed Mary's life at risk.

What a terrible time for a taxation to be imposed!

What a terrible time to ride a donkey for a few days over rugged rutted roads!

And what an awful out of the way place to go!

What a terrible time for the King to become paranoid and cause Joseph, Mary and Jesus to flee to Egypt for several year! How hard do you suppose that was on his carpentry business back in Nazareth!

I think I understand why the might have questioned God's timing around that first Christmas! Who would blame them?

But they were obedient and faithful despite the hardships imposed by God's timing. Soon they came to understand that God was RIGHT on time!

History records that it REALLY was just the right time! The Romans had built roads and aqueducts, and shipping routes and established the "Pax Romana" so it was possible to travel safely. Plus, the religions of the day had grown stale and empty and people were ready for something real.

God's timing really IS perfect and Christmas proves it! I am sure that if you could interview Joseph or Mary today they would echo Paul's affirmation that it happened at "just the right time".

So, if you are doubting God's timing are questioning "why" things are happening as they are, remember He is working at "just the right time!"