What do think of when you think of the word grace? Do you think of the effortless way a skater moves across the ice or a dancer across the floor? Or do you think of the prayer before dinner? Or do you imagine forgiveness—a friend overlooking an ill-timed word or a spouse not commenting on your morning breath...Isn’t grace wonderful?
Wouldn’t you like to live in a world that has more beauty and warmth and, yes, grace in it? In this Christmas season that can seem so frantic and so opposite of what we hope it will be. We long to experience moments of grace.
And here’s the good news: At its very core, Christmas is all about grace. Grace for all who will come, of course. But grace for you in particular. Listen to what the apostle John has to say…
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only Begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth…And of His fullness have we all received, and grace for grace.
Grace is unmerited favor. Grace warms the heart. Grace is what God gives to us in welcoming us into his family. He throws open the door, opens his arms wide, and invites to share his life with his Son. And he does this at his own expense. God’s character, his very being, is entirely, lavishly gracious. You may feel that you’ve been pushed to the limit or that you’ve pushed God to the limit. But God is merciful and gracious; slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. He is gracious because he is love. And he loves you.
In this is love, not that we loved him, but that he loved us, and gave himself a sacrifice for us.
God so loved the world [and that includes you] that he gave his son.
Most of us start our Christian lives with this simple understanding of God’s love, but we can lose it along the way. We can become tired and numb and often just go through religious motions because we don’t know any other way to live. We have to find a way to rediscover the joy of being eternally accepted and loved.
So I’d like to offer one thing I’ve been doing that could make a difference in your Christmas season. Every day from now until Christmas, find a minute, 60 seconds, where you stop. For heaven’s sake, just stop, and let God love you. God doesn’t want to wait until you’ve got everything fixed or everything finished this Christmas. He is the gift of grace for you in your loneliness, in your busyness, in your fear of not having enough or being enough.
So for a minute, let it be enough to just be with him. Shhhh…Don’t talk too much. Don’t fill up the seconds with your words because you’re uncomfortable. Just stop and let God love you for those few seconds.
Now if you do this, I can promise something new will happen in your life. I don’t know what. It might be something different for each of you. But there will be something—some stirring in your soul—that will be your Christmas gift from above.
Imagine the Father’s joy as you receive his gracious gift of love with simplicity and gratefulness this advent season.