Christmas–The Great Exchange

The following was written by one of my book coaching clients, Deborah Schaulis. I liked it so much I asked her for permission to publish it here.Thanks, Deborah!

You know how full of love and kindness our Lord Jesus Christ was.
Though he was very rich, yet for your sakes he became poor,
so that by his poverty he could make you rich.
(II Corinthians 8:9, NLT)

Well, it’s that time of year again-time for the great exchange.

At the local department store, you exchange your hard-earned money for gifts to give your friends, coworkers and family. At various Christmas parties and family gatherings, you exchange the gifts you got for gifts of your own. After the holidays, you wait in long lines to exchange those items you received that were the wrong size, the wrong color or just plain wrong for you! And when it’s all over, you wonder, “Was it really worth it? Why do I spend so much time and money giving gifts that others don’t necessarily appreciate, so I can bring home a bunch of stuff I don’t really want or need?”

Wouldn’t it be great if there were a way to exchange what you have for something really valuable? Better yet, what if you could turn in your garbage and come home with something worth more than gold. Believe it or not, Christmas originally was all about that kind of exchange!

Over 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ exchanged His regal glory for the lowly garb of a simple peasant babe. The King of the universe was born in a simple stable–homeless–so we could look forward to a heavenly home. The One who owned “the cattle on a thousand hills” became poor to make us rich.

When He grew up, the “Wonderful Counselor” was considered crazy–even by His own family–in order to impart to us the wisdom of the universe. Christ was rejected by men, so we could be accepted by God; He was abused and wounded, so we could be healed. He took on our sin, so we could be called “the righteousness of God.” He became a curse to allow us to receive God’s blessings. He was punished, so we could be forgiven; He died in order that we might have life-forever!

Thanks to the Christ of Christmas, you and I can take all our “junk”–our sin, our sickness, our loneliness, our addictions, our depression and anxieties–and exchange them at the cross. The gifts He offers in exchange are salvation, wholeness, belonging, freedom, joy and peace–just to name a few! Now that’s a truly Great Exchange, don’t you agree?

What’s more, this Great Exchange is not a once in a lifetime, or even a once a year event. Those who trust in Christ can exchange their garbage for Christ’s goodness every day. That’s what the Bible calls “sanctification.” It means that 365.25 days of the year we can come to God with our junk and leave it at His feet. In place of irritation, He gives us patience. In place of judgment and alienation, we can experience grace and reconciliation. Whatever we have, God takes and gives us what we need, instead.

There’s nothing we can’t take to Jesus and exchange for something better. In fact, someday, those of us who trust in Him can even exchange these worn out old bodies for ones that will last forever! We get to change our address from this old fallen world to someplace more glorious than we could ever imagine! And this Great Exchange was all made possible because Jesus was born and lived and died and rose again not quite two millennia ago!

We are so glad we made the choice to participate in this Great Exchange! Have you? If not, there’s no better way to celebrate this holiday season than in taking part in the Great Exchange. Give your life and all you have to God and see what you receive in return. It’ll be the best exchange you’ve ever made-guaranteed!

© 2006 Deborah Schaulis

Two Gifts for You

Yesterday I posted about how it is just as blessed to receive as to give.

Today I want to tell you about two gifts I have for you.

One is a Digital Web Book containing 5 sample stories from Abundant Gifts.  What’s cool about it is it opens on your computer like a book. These are some of the stories readers have chosen as their favorites. If you don’t already own the whole book, this is a great way to sample what’s in store for you.

It’s also a great way for you to send something wonderful to a friend, at no cost. Why not send the Digital Web Book to all your friends who would appreciate it who are on your list? Once you have the book downloaded, you can easily send it to as many friends as you like, via email, along with your own personal message. Just right-click on the cover of the book, and you’ll see an option to send to a friend.

The other gift is a Digital Personal Journal. Like the Abundant Gifts Digital Web Book, its pages turn like a real book. You can write in it like a real diary–but it resides on your computer (not online) for your security and privacy. (If you’re concerned about privacy, you can save it anywhere on your computer–perhaps in a folder where no one would ever guess but you.)

 Sprinkled liberally throughout the journal pages are inspirational passages , quotes–and even music clips you can listen to.Digital journals like these are selling for $39.95 or more — but this one’s yours for FREE.

You will also receive the Abundant Gifts e-zine, a newsletter designed to help you develop the habit of seeing everyday gifts from a lavish God. (You may unsubscribe at any time.) To access both gifts, simply visit the Abundant Gifts web site. To download the Abundant Gifts Digital Web Book, click on any of the turning pages icons on the web site. To download the Digital Personal Journal, fill out the pop-up window form or the form on the page itself.I hope you will enjoy using the Journal for keeping track of your abundant gifts … or for whatever reason you choose.

Make my joy complete by downloading both of these gifts right now. And don’t forget to pass them on to a friend!          


Is It as Blessed to Receive as To Give?

We often hear Jesus’ words quoted, “It’s more blessed to give than receive.”

In our materialistic world, that’s a good thing to be reminded of.

But consider this: Might it be just as blessed to receive?

Imagine offering a gift to someone. You genuinely want to give that person this gift.

But she refuses. “No, thank you,” she says, even though in her eyes you sense she would really like to say yes.

How do you feel?

Now, imagine offering your gift to someone who receives it with delight and gratitude.

Don’t you feel blessed in the second case?

If we refuse a gift someone offers us, we rob them of the joy of giving. We break the cycle: gift offered, gift received, receiver blessed, giver blessed from receiver’s gratitude.

We have just come from the special day of Thanksgiving. In some ways, isn’t Thanksgiving about receiving? To acknowledge God’s blessings is to receive them fully. Our gratitude is our act of receiving that blesses God, even as He has blessed us.

In this season on giving, let us not only give with joy, but receive with joy as well. Let us remember to complete the beautiful giving cycle … whichever end we’re on.