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Christmas is truly the most wonderful time of the year. And as an aside, let’s be real, it’s the most exhausting time too. Still, that does not lessen the beauty of this season. I was creating a game to play at a party this week and found a few interesting “facts” about the the Christmas season. Did you know that:

  • About $1,000 is spent on Christmas gifts each year by the average American family.
  • Children who write letters to Santa Claus in the United States have their letters delivered to Santa Claus, Indiana.
  • Over three billion Christmas cards are sold in the U.K. and the U.S. each year.
  • Many people think Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year in the United States. However, the busiest shopping days of the year are the Friday and Saturday before Christmas.
  • The Rubik’s Cube, the largest selling Christmas toy in 1980, sold for $1.99, but now sells for nearly $10.
  • The origin of stockings being hung on Christmas came from the Dutch custom of leaving shoes full of food for St. Nicholas’ donkey, which would then be filled with small gifts by St. Nicholas.
  • The United States Post Office anticipates delivering more than 15 billion pieces of holiday mail, including more than 850 million packages.
  • Twenty-eight sets of LEGOS are sold every second during the Christmas season.
  • During the Christmas season each year, more than 1.76 billion candy canes are made.
  • While shopping during the Christmas season, shoppers use their Visa cards more than 6,000 times every minute.
  • Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” is the best-selling Christmas song with more than more than 50 million copies sold around the world.
  • Many people abbreviate Christmas “Xmas,” which is actually based upon X being the first letter of Jesus Christ’s name in Greek.
  • A Christmas wreath made of holly represents the blood Jesus shed (the red berries) and the crown of thorns.

I love all these fun facts, but the history of Christmas is much more fascinating. It’s all about a little babe born in Bethlehem.

It is quite a fantastic story filled with 700 year old prophecies, angelic visits to a young girl Mary, to the man who loved her, shepherds minding their own business and wise men who were watching for the newborn king.

Imagine the intrigue.There is a journey to a little town where Mary shouldn’t have ever been, except by Roman decree. There is plot to kill the baby, there is murder and eventually, a family on the run for their lives.

Imagine the emotion. Every woman’s heart goes go out to the young pregnant woman far from her mama. I suspect men can imagine Joseph’s fear and sense of helplessness that night. The shepherds went from scared to death to awestruck. The wise men offered gifts in honor.

Feel the awe. God loved the world so much that he showed up... in the flesh... a baby’s flesh...tiny, vulnerable and precious. He was the innocent who would become the scapegoat. The beloved who would become the scorned. The long awaited who would become the forgotten.

The helpless one who would become our savior.

Christmas is about so much more than tinsel and trips and gifts. It’s about God entering our human story, experiencing our day-to-day life, and rescuing us from the mess we’ve made of it. Christmas is a story told and one that is still being written. The story continues today, in us ...in this season.

Larry and Linda Kloster sponsor this column.

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Community News Editor

Sally Ann Shurmur arrived at the Star-Tribune to cover sports two weeks after graduating from the University of Wyoming and now serves as community news editor. She was raised in Laramie and is a passionate fan of Cowboys football, food and family.

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