Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Grace at Christmas

I've never seen the movie Fred Claus, but Adam Hamilton used it as an example in his book Not a Silent Night.  Apparently Fred is Santa's bother.  He needs financial help, and goes to his brother. Santa provides the help on the condition that Fred come and work for him during Christmas.  His job is to determine who has been naughty and who has been nice.  As he works, he discovers that the "naughty" kids aren't bad - they've not naughty things, but there's something special about each one of them.  They've been hurt or mislead or misguided.  "Fred comes to believe that the kids most in need of a gift are the naughty ones.  Maybe that gift - receiving kindness when they don't deserve it - would change them.

That's grace, and I imagine that is one of the reasons that God gives it to us as a free gift.  We are in need of it, and it can change us.  We don't deserve it, but we need it.

I like Hamilton's definition of grace:
Grace is God's kindness, his love, his care, his work on our behalf, his blessings, his gifts, his goodness, his forgiveness, and his salvation.  But it is m ore than that - it is all these things when they are undeserved, when they are a pure gift.  Further, grace has the power to change our lives.
We were talking in Sunday school about ways to spread the light of Christmas.  One of the examples we talked about was kindness.  Be kind to someone.  In this holiday season, we are so caught up in rushing around, trying to get every task done, that we often get frustrated by other people.  People who drive "wrong," who get in our way shopping, who take too long at the check out line, who provide poor service.  What if we offered them kindness instead of anger?  Could that be a way to spread grace?  And whatever change could it bring?  What change in other people, and what change in us?

Grace at Christmas to all,



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