We are excited to be with family this coming week as all of our immediate family, with spouses and grandchildren, will gather together and celebrate the first advent of Jesus Christ into the world. He came to do for us what we could never do for ourselves and to provide what can be called the “great exchange”.
I’m sure you’ve heard of and probably participated in a gift exchange and possibly one called a “dirty Santa” event. A “dirty Santa” exchange has each person bring a wrapped gift that falls within a predetermined price range and places it in the stack of gifts brought by other participants. In return he receives a randomly chosen number that determines the order of his turn to choose a gift. Everyone then watches in anticipation as the gift is unwrapped and the package contents are revealed. Often, the gift is the envy of a remaining participant who has the option of selecting and unwrapping another wrapped gift or “stealing” the envied revealed gift and claiming it for himself. Occasionally, a gift is a true “white elephant” and the one who selects that gift is doomed to possess it to the end of the game as no one wants to “steal” that gift!
I am sure each of us in some way in this life can relate to being the “envied gift” and yet more often being the unwanted “white elephant” gift. Everyone, no matter what culture he is born in to, wants to be the “envied gift” and spend eternity in “paradise”. But the problem is how to get there.
Mankind can work to become “like god” and hope he is good enough, but since perfection is the requirement to enter paradise, no one qualifies. That’s why God stepped down to earth and became one of us, and having lived the required perfect life, He qualified to redeem us. As Jesus says in Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” And that’s where the GREAT EXCHANGE comes in. Second Corinthians 5:21 says “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” He takes our filthy rags of earthly “righteousness” and exchanges it for His perfect, holy righteousness.
God saw us as that “envied gift” and exchanged the glories of heaven for a dirty stable, entering into this world to offer us eternity in paradise with Him, if we will confess our sin and accept the free gift of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
Joy to the world, the Lord has come…and He’s coming again – His second advent! Come, Lord Jesus, come!