My wife and daughters take the phrase “shop ‘til you drop” a little too literally at Christmastime. They’ll take the van to the nearest shopping mall and have a tailgating party with Christmas cookies and hot chocolate, just to catch the early sales. As soon as the doors open, they’ll rush in the stores like kids in a candy store, loaded with purses and pocketbooks. Usually several hours later, they will exit the mall, each carrying no less than six oversized bags full of Christmas gifts, wrapping paper, and Christmas cards.

If you think I join the ladies for their Christmas shopping spree, you’re mistaken. I stay home and try to figure out how I’m going to foot the bill. Christmas cookies, anyone?

I’m kidding about my family’s shopping tradition. But I believe the whole idea of paying debts is a great representation of sin. Every person in the world who has ever lived or will live is, by nature, a sinner and worthy of the death penalty. All have come short of the glory of God save One, and that is Jesus Christ. He never sinned, but was perfect, righteous, and holy. Jesus came to become sin for us so we could be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). We must only believe to receive this free gift.

It seems like Christmas gifts (and the shopping bills) are getting more expensive with each passing year. But do you know what’s worse than owing outstanding debt to a merchant? It’s your sin debt. Put your trust in Him Who died and rose again to pay for all your sins, and your debt will be canceled.

And when the grand twelve million jury
Of our sins, with direful fury,
Against our souls black verdicts give,
Christ pleads His death, and then we live. — Sir Walter Raleigh

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.