Australians will spend $4.5 billion in pre-Christmas retail sales this year, a year-on-year increase of 4.3 percent. It’s hard to remember Christmas before its commercialisation, when pressure on parents to deliver expensive gifts was much less. Siobhan Freegard, co-founder of Netmums in England said:

"Over the years, each generation of parents has felt increasing pressure to spend more money on Christmas presents for their children. ...This can mean going without things themselves to buy ever more expensive gifts, often getting into debt in the process.”

Where does the pressure come from? Often it’s the children themselves; many have taken to social media to report their dissatisfaction with presents, posting thankless comments and complaints.

"I didn't get an IPhone for Christmas… time to roll up into a ball and die," was one comment.

But how did we get to this? Is this a good example of Christmas spirit? Maybe it’s time to remind ourselves of the high moral values and the man upon which Christmas was built.

Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. It's been a reminder of hope to billions since 354AD. Christ was a peaceful revolutionary who valued women and outcasts when all others rejected them, valued family and showed us profound love. He is God who came to rescue us and bring us back from certain death by sacrificing his life. He put everything into perspective.

Christ taught us how damaging greed can be, he said: “...Life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” He told the story of a rich man who stored away all he had rather than giving. He died that night, leaving all his possessions behind him (Luke 12:13).

He went on to say:

“...I tell you, don’t worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.

... Provide a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

What a different picture Christmas would be if we took his message seriously.

Merry Christmas! May God bless you with family time and quiet moments to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.