Decorating our homes with the lights, colors, and decorations of Christmas is a tradition many of us embrace. Within the boxes from the garage, attic, basement hauled up right after Thanksgiving are decorations that express the joy and hope of the season. These decorations often have the effect of transforming a room with such wonder that a family member struck by the beauty may begin singing the old carol, “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas”.
Of course, the decorations should lead us far beyond the visual beauty and warm feelings of a home decorated in it’s Christmas glory. Christmas, as it’s name implies, is a celebration of Christ who emptied His Glory to be with us. God took on flesh, entered our planet on a mission to offer us all the opportunity to trade our life for His. In effect, at Christmas Jesus told the world He has come to offer Himself in a trade. The trade has sometimes been called, ‘The Great Exchange’. It works like this: Jesus would take our place in life and trade or exchange our lives for His. In Isaiah we read how Jesus took our sins on Himself.
“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:4–6)
In the great exchange, Jesus not only took our sins to a cross but He also placed His own goodness and righteousness in our person.
“For God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins. Then, in exchange, he poured God’s goodness into us!” (2 Corinthians 5:21 TLB)
In other words, when Jesus came on Christmas He offered us the most wonderful exchange of taking out our sins (nailing them to the cross) and pouring into us all the righteousness and goodness of Himself. As my good friend Linus would say – “This was what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown.”
So when you walk into a home all decorated with Christmas glory and start humming to yourself, ‘It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas’, may this trigger the reminder of the much greater glory and greater transformation whereby He exchanged our sin for His righteousness.
Here’s a better song to set to tune:
O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight