(from the heart of Rachael Palmer)
God is never without a plan. Our amazing Jesus, sitting fully and rightfully enthroned in heaven, took a stand at a moment in history. Our loving Father, in joyful harmony with his Son, looked toward earth and said no more to distance and darkness from His beloved people. Enough was enough. An exchange was needed. The Holy Trinity- Sweet Jesus, Loving Father, and Powerful Spirit- in unity, agreed that you were worth coming down for. Down from perfection. Down from paradise. Down from home.
You were worth the exchange.
Almighty God transformed into fragile humanity. To walk with us; live with us; teach us. Jesus, exchanging heavenly throne for wooden manger, to teach us how to accept the Father’s love in fullness. Without effort or striving. To simply accept the free gift and then live out radically the love we received. Teaching us how to make the exchange of the world’s exhaustive endeavors, for the Father’s restful, life-changing freedom. A beautiful exchange.
Our Savior, Jesus, desiring to be our Emmanuel, made the exchange of his death to give us life. He has freely gifted us with the ability to cry out to our Papa in times of stress, loneliness, anxiety, and unsettledness, that so often accompany the coldness of the winter season. He knows humanity. He experienced our humanness, and he chases after us relentlessly to remind us that we are daughters. Daughters who have an inheritance of goodness because of the exchange that has already been made.
Exchange resides at the heart of Advent. The exchange that was made between heaven and earth, on a starry night in Bethlehem. The exchange 30 years later when a group of men laid down their nets of fish to pursue catching the hearts of people. The exchange of religious emptiness for authentic faith. And finally, on the Cross at Calvary, where Jesus made the ultimate exchange. An exchange of death for life.
Listen for the voice of Jesus this season. Prompting you to gaze into the sweet and loving eyes of the One who came for you. Joyfully making the exchange for you. Longing to pull you into his embrace so you can lay down what you’ve been gripping tightly to. The World cannot offer us anything except lies and emptiness; therefore, our hands find themselves clinging to the desire for control, and our hearts find themselves striving to bring the emptiness into purpose.
When you finally sit at the feet of Jesus, and reluctantly soften your grip, slowly open your grasp, you will probably find your hands are actually empty. Our gentle and kind Shepherd wants to fill them. Fill them with unrestricted, limitless freedom. Freedom to make the daily exchange; weariness for rest, discouragement for hope, loneliness for adoption, striving for grace. Dreariness of ordinary for abounding life in Christ.
“But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, ‘Abba, Father.’” (Galatians 4:4-6)
Take some time to sit in stillness before the Lord. Invite the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart; ask Him what you have been gripping to this season that needs to be exchanged for his Promise. His desire is for you to live abundantly and joyfully as his Beloved.