24 December 2018

“Have a vengeful Christmas y’all!”

These are the opening words of a viral Facebook post.

The story goes that Sarah Belanger Demaneuf, from North Alabama in the US, was working in a retail chain 17 years ago when she encountered a very rich customer. This rich woman demanded that the price of Christmas star ornaments be reduced to just 25 cents—despite the fact that they had already been reduced to 50 cents. The customer had been told that the ornaments would be on sale for 25 cents the following day.

After a nasty back and forth, Demaneuf didn’t cave in, and the woman vowed to come back in the morning. Demaneuf feeling frustrated and annoyed, called all the other retail chain stores in North Alabama and bought ALL the remaining ornaments. She wrote, “It was the most vengeful $30 I ever spent”.

When the customer arrived the next morning, Demaneuf told her that all the stock had been sold to just one customer. Ironically, she ended up giving the ornaments away to friends and family, keeping only one for herself which she hangs on her tree and calls, ‘The Star of Vengeance’.

In one way, I really like this story because it seems like the customer gets what she deserves. But in another way, this story saddens me because it reminds me of how petty I can be and how easy it is for me to descend into spite and revenge as well as my inability to respond with generosity and kindness.

When it comes to Christmas, we are reminded of how incredibly generous God is, and how incredibly undeserving we are. We deserve his punishment but instead God is ungrudging and merciful towards humanity. Inconceivably, God is willing to carry the unimaginable cost of the death of his very own beloved Son in order to pay the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. God makes a way for peace and goodwill to reach us.

God’s Son, Jesus comes into our world. The creator of the world becomes weak and helpless not just in birth but also in death. Jesus comes not only to take on human form, but also to live our life, understand what we go through and to die our death! Then, having been raised to life, He now presents us to God the Father. His actions are proof that there is nothing God won’t do for us (for you)!

So, may Christmas be a time where we turn to God in humble adoration and obedience because of Jesus, who makes a way for us to receive peace and goodwill from God.

Liam Shannon
Assistant Minister