How many of you have watched the TV programme Secret Millionaire? Each programme focuses on a real millionaire, who leaves his or her luxury home and family for ten days, and moves to a rundown urban area. While living alone and incognito in a very basic house, they spend their time volunteering with three local charities. Often they find themselves caring for the sick or feeding the hungry, supporting needy children or comforting the bereaved. At the end of ten days, they reveal their true identity to the charities and to needy individuals, and give away thousands of pounds (or dollars) of their own money. Many of the charities they help are struggling financially, and the millionaire’s gift is often the lifeline they need to survive.
It struck me recently that this is the very essence of Christmas. Approximately two thousand years ago – but not in December – the Creator of the universe left behind the riches of His spiritual home, to live a basic life incognito, while he healed the sick and fed the hungry, welcomed the children and comforted the bereaved (by bringing their dead back to life). At the end of His time here, He gave the most expensive gift anyone could give. He gave His own life to pay the debt we all owe to our Creator. None of us has lived a perfect life; no one has a totally clear conscience – except Yeshua. So out of His immense love for us, He took our place to buy our forgiveness and secure our future. As Rabbi Sha’ul of Tarsus (the apostle Paul) wrote, “You know the generous grace of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. Though He was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty could become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9)
Following the filming of the TV programmes, rather than abandon their charities, many of the millionaires return to provide help and support on an ongoing basis. In the same way Yeshua calls us into an ongoing, loving relationship with Himself. He promises “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)