Today Christ-followers celebrate the great swap. The prophets and patriarchs looked forward to it. Today we look back at it. It was the mysterious moment when the living God took his first breath in a plan to rescue His children.
The baby was the glorious exchange. He forfeited heavenly attributes, a luxurious home, and the physical hierarchy over his subjects. He took on vulnerability, dingy surroundings, and lowly class status. He belonged in a palace, he got a stable. He deserved glory, he was belittled. He we perfect, but made his home with the damaged. The All-Powerful became the most powerless of all creatures- an infant.
Why would God bother? Why subject Himself to the humility, ridicule and hardship of the world? I’ll tell you why, friend – there was pre-creation conspiracy at work. Since before time was born, God desired to be with you. You. He wanted YOU. And He knows that one of your greatest needs is to be fully known and understood. To do so, he had to learn your language, the language of this earthly existence – hardship. Throughout history, God has been a loving Father. But on that first Christmas a member of the divine monarchy exchanged royal clothing for that of a peasant, so that the treasured peasants could come to Him and be known. When your child is suffering, He can empathize. When you are bullied, He can honestly say, “I have been there.” When people hate you and spread lies about you, He can identify. When you are tempted by food, sex, materialism, social pressure, or the lies of the enemy – He gets that too.
But there’s something else that His advent brings – power. That’s the other part of the swap. God’s takes on our weakness, and those who receive him get heaven within. He takes our death, we receive His inheritance with Him. He bears our infirmities, we overcome the world. He takes the penalty for our sin, we receive His righteousness.
Dear reader, if I have not made this abundantly clear let me say this now, Jesus is for YOU. Thirty-something-video-gaming-addict-living-in-your-parents-basement-guy? Jesus is for you. Beautiful-same-sex-attracted-college-girl? Jesus is for you. Empty-nester-seeing-the-brevity-of-this-life? Jesus is for you. Regular-church-attender-tired-of-the-ritual? Jesus is for you.
There. Is. No. Greater. Gift.
Through Him you get heaven, you get healing, you get spiritual family. You get your Creator as you commute, change diapers, head to fourth period, fold laundry, grade papers, flip burgers, plan mergers, and even when your heart breaks. You don’t have to clean up before you come to Him, but when you truly meet Him you will be changed. Sometimes instantly, sometimes slowly as you kick and struggle. But even if the transformation is painful, you can endure it because you are fully known and loved by this God who holds your hand through it all.
The great swap manifests itself in daily living. For those who follow Christ, our aimless wanderings have been exchanged for His empowered mission. He magnifies Himself through our weakness, and our most humble moments become catalysts for encounters with the Almighty. We are no longer slaves to this world, but children of the High King. Even when we are crushed, we can be victorious.
Many thanks to all my readers. Each and every one of you bless me and stretch me. I pray that this Christmas you see God pursuing you, wooing you, and calling you.