“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17, Christian Standard Bible).

It’s that time of year again when we hear the word “exchange” a lot. There are gift exchanges and cookie exchanges. And let’s not forget the other “gift exchange” after the holidays when we return the unwanted items to the store for something different or for a refund.

I recently received an invitation to lunch and a Christmas gift exchange. The invitation noted that we were to spend up to a certain amount for the gift. That means each gift would be more or less of equal value. (I can name a few times that didn’t happen. You probably can too.) Sometimes I’m thrilled with the gift I receive, and sometimes I just shake my head in puzzlement. I suppose much depends on the personality of the gift giver and what they feel is suitable.

There are times I am never disappointed in an exchange, and that’s when God is the One providing the gifts. The above verse in James says anything coming from Him is good and perfect. I believe that. When God is invited to the party, what we receive comes from the “Divine Exchange.” What I give has little value, but He provides exactly what I need.

He exchanges my turmoil for His peace.

Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful” (John 14:27, CSB).

He exchanges my fear for His courage.

“Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9, CSB).

He exchanges my despair and covers me in praise.

“The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (Isaiah 61:3, KJV).

He exchanges my shame and sin for His grace.

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24, KJV).

He exchanges my tears for His joy.

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5, NKJV).

He exchanges my hopelessness for His secure hope.

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain” (Hebrews 6:19, CSB).

Some gift exchanges are of the “white elephant” variety. Everyone intentionally brings something funny or unwanted—a gag gift. I can assure you, anything God gives us is not worthless or unwanted. It is handcrafted especially for us and priceless. The greatest gift He ever gave was Himself so that we might be saved.

“Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift” (II Corinthians 9:15, KJV).

Prayer: Lord, thank You for the wonderful gifts You have placed in my life. Nothing I could ever offer in return would match their value. You have showered me with amazing blessings and Your salvation.

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Mary enjoys traveling, meeting new people, and spending time with old friends. Although directionally challenged, she would rather take the back roads with their discoveries than the boredom of the interstate.

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