It would be hard to imagine a Christmas with no giving, wouldn’t it? This year, what are you planning to give those you love? A drill for your husband? Perfume for your wife? Electronic devices for your kids? Fruitcake for…? Okay, scratch that one! In the midst of the hustle and bustle, presents will undoubtedly arrive to bless you also, because exchange heightens the joy.
Actually, an exchange forms the bedrock of this holiday. Andrew Murray, South African writer and pastor (1828-1917), puts it so beautifully: “Life for life; He gave His life for us to possess that we might give our life for Him to possess.” When Jesus—Son of God and Son of Man—came to Earth as an infant those many centuries ago, the possibility of exchange was set into motion.
God offers to make us joint heirs with His only begotten Son. What can we possibly give to reciprocate for such a miraculous gift? And doesn’t God own everything? Consider the father in Luke 15:11-32. He has his elder son at home to carry on his name; and he is well off, with servants, livestock, fine clothing and jewelry. His house is probably a lot quieter since the rebel son departed with his share of the inheritance. And yet this man scans the horizon daily, praying that the prodigal will come to his senses and get back home. That’s truly what he wants.
Isn’t it the same with our heavenly Father? Once that “life for life” transaction occurs, it’s truly time to make merry and be glad (Luke 15:32a).