Verse of the Day

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” — 1 John 1:7 Listen to chapter Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica. Powered by BibleGateway.com.

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The Great Exchange: Making Christmas a meaningful reality as we serve others

fwowee pathway Christmas - web

Dear friends:

As the Christmas celebrations continue to draw us into the heart of the story of the first Christmas, we have been meditating on the idea of some “exchanges” that took place in the Biblical event and how we should follow the pattern of sacrifice we see there.  Consider:

Christ exchanged the highest throne for vulnerable humanity.

J. Hudson Taylor, the courageous 19th century British missionary to China observed this:

  • “Let us reflect on what he gave up on leaving heaven’s throne to be cradled in a manger. Having filled all things and wielded omnipotence, he became a feeble infant and was wrapped in swaddling clothes. Being the Loved One of the Father, never unappreciated, never misunderstood, and always receiving the ceaseless adoration of the hierarchies of heaven, he became a despised Nazarene, misunderstood even by his followers, suspected by those whom he came to bless, rejected by those who owed him their very being, and whose salvation he had come to seek. Finally he was mocked and spit upon, crucified and slain, with thieves and outlaws.”

Mary exchanged the expected for the unexpected.

Mary had every reason to believe that her life would follow the pattern of all of the girls she knew. She would marry her betrothed, join him near his family’s home and raise children who would also follow the pattern and customs of the culture. They would be one more anonymous faithful Jewish family like the generations before them. But her response to the angel in Luke 2:38, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”, showed her willingness to take a path that no one before or since has ever taken.

Are we willing to exchange our plenty for the need of others?

While we are blessed materially with plenty, many around us have needs. While we are filled to overflowing with the grace of God and the assurance of His daily presence and provision, others lack hope. We are commanded by our Lord to share what He has given us; our physical resources, our time, our abilities, and our spiritual blessings.  J. Hudson Taylor concluded his thoughts on the exchange that Jesus made by saying:

  • “Will any brother or sister in Christ reflect on this, and yet hesitate to make the trifling sacrifices he asks us to make?”

We are grateful that so many of you have answered without hesitation and have prayerfully given from your hearts to those in need. You know the thrill of exchanging a predictable mundane day-to day suburban life for the excitement of seeing God work in unexpected ways in your own lives as He works through you to display His love and build his kingdom. Your generosity has been overwhelming and strengthens our faith as it blesses others.

By coming to earth to demonstrate a perfect life of love and grace and to die to remove all barriers that separated us from holy God, Jesus exchanged His righteousness for our sin and gave us a relationship that  no one else ever could: “God and sinners…reconciled!”

May your Christmas be steeped in this reality and may 2014 bring you even more grace, joy and peace as you follow Jesus.

Howie & Judy
on behalf of the Embrace Loudoun team

 

If you would like to know more about Jesus, we are here to help answer questions in a safe, no pressure environment.  Contact Howie at howard.levin@embraceloudoun.org and Judy at judy.levin@embraceloudoun.org.  You may also go to one of these websites: exploregod.comeverystudent.com and startingwithgod.com .


For more information on Embrace Loudoun – what we do, how we serve, with whom we collaborate, please click HEREIf you feel led to make an exchange to change lives, please click on the ‘Donate’ button above right column!

 

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