In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. — Philippians 2:5-7
Jerushah had grown tired of the commercialism so rampant around the holidays. Before Halloween had even ended, stores were already reminding her of tinsel, Santa, and a rush of obligations she felt too tired to meet. She had a full life, with relationships in several spheres — coworkers, church friends, family, and neighbors. This year, she wanted to celebrate them all, but she couldn’t wrap her mind around how to do that.
A neighbor, Tammy, reminded her of a simple way to celebrate people and also keep her heart centered on Jesus: an exchange! So Jerushah participated in four different exchanges.
At work, she and her coworkers did an ornament exchange. Everyone brought a single, pretty, gift-wrapped ornament and numbered it. Then each person drew a number and could either open the corresponding gift or choose another.
With her small group from church, Jerushah participated in a time exchange at their leader’s home. With Christmas music playing in the background and goodies on the table, the group just hung out while everyone tackled their holiday tasks — writing and addressing Christmas cards, making bows, and wrapping presents.
To keep expenses low, Jerushah did a name exchange with her cousins, aunts, and uncles, limiting the gifts to five dollars or less, allowing for thrifted and creative gifts.
Tammy hosted a meal exchange for Jerushah’s neighborhood. To make it easier, Tammy first purchased some throwaway containers at a local dollar store. Then she invited her neighbors who enjoyed cooking to spend two hours together in the kitchen, each creating a main dish that would serve a number of people. The night of the exchange, neighbors each made a dish, distributed it among several containers, then left with the same number of different main dishes. Jerushah went home with six dinners — a true blessing during a busy season.
Perhaps you are participating in several “exchanges” yourself this Christmas season. If so, in light of all these exchanges, it’s important that you recognize the most important exchange of all. Jesus, in His deity, exchanged Heaven’s beauty for earth’s soil. Consider the humility it must have taken for Him to do this — not only to exchange ethereal for earthly, but glory for death. Paul reminded us of this in today’s reading from Philippians.
Jesus made this exchange for your sake, so you could live and breathe and love well on this earth. As you exchange gifts or food or time this Christmas season, remember that Jesus came to earth to exchange His life for yours.
Jesus, I don’t always comprehend the exchange You offered on my behalf, but I do understand the joy I receive when I give to others. That must be how You felt when You came to earth to give us Yourself. Help me remember that beautiful exchange this holiday when I exchange gifts. Amen.
If you’re rushed this season and feel too overwhelmed to plan an exchange, give yourself permission to be casual. Simply invite four friends over to bake alongside you. Each should bring a recipe, some ingredients, and a smile.
Jesus, in His deity, exchanged Heaven’s beauty for earth’s soil. Consider the humility it must have taken for Him to do this — to not only exchange ethereal for earthly, but glory for death.
Excerpted with permission from Beautiful Word Christmas copyright Zondervan.
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What an exchange! This season as we’re buying or exchanging gifts, let’s pray with our families that we would keep at the front of our hearts and minds that Jesus is the ultimate gift! Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you about the humility of Christ! ~ Devotionals Daily
The Beautiful Word for Christmas
Mary E DeMuth
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