THE GIFTS OF EXCHANGE
The Christmas season overtakes us again. Often it is more about presents than God’s presence. As Christians, the birth of Jesus will impact us in our spirits and gift giving is secondary to our celebration of our Lord’s blessings. The exchange of shed blood by Jesus is his shared gift of salvation to us, each and all.
There is an exchange in the bible, Ruth chapter four, concerning redeeming for exchanging. To confirm a transaction, a man would take off his worn sandal and give it to another (verse 8) to redeem the deal.
Verse 8: “So the redeemer removed his sandal and said to Boaz, ‘Buy back the property yourself”.
To refuse this gesture was to cease negotiations without due. An ancient Biblical custom was symbolic as an agreement for all to see. A worn and dusty sandal in an exchange may seem strange and unusual. Yet the bargaining was for all to heed or a rejection by both participants. Shaking only the dust, but not the hand to redeem land, was legal tender. A creed of sorts that today we would never acknowledge.
Is this the way of the cross, for us to accept the redeemer, or refuse, and live with life’s dross? Redeem or reject, to stand in the sandal of another at what cost? Sandals were removed at the last supper as Jesus, in deep humility, washed the feet of his disciples which later led him to the power of the cross.
His death redeemed us with his abundant love. He exchanged his death on the cross in courage, sacrifice and forgiveness for us. So do all you can to nurture his love, offer him your prayers of petition in contrition. Don’t waste time in recriminations, express gratitude for God given grace.
This Christmas, reflect on the reason for his presence. Not the presents.