Celebrate God’s grace this Christmas season
“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life” (New International Version 1984, Titus 3:4–7).
Christmastime is stressful. Buying presents, visiting relatives, running up expenses and dealing with unrealistic expectations. Have you ever said at the end of a Christmas season, “I am going to do things different next year”?
It is now next year and we are in the middle of another Christmas season. I am not a financial consultant, though I do have a strong theology of stewardship. I am not a marriage counselor, though my wife, Mary, and I have enjoyed God’s love and patience for 36 years.
However, I am a follower of Christ and have tasted His immeasurable grace many times. Instead of thinking of what you can stop doing this year I want to focus on some simple things you can start doing this Christmas.
One, personally appreciate God’s grace upon your life through the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God’s grace is the significant factor in salvation, but even though this season is about the birth of our Savior, you may not associate grace and Christmas.
Grace can be described as unmerited favor. In both Elizabeth’s and Mary’s realizations that they were being blessed by God with a baby, you see the word favor noted. Elizabeth sang, “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people” (Luke 1:25).
The angel, Gabriel, appeared to Mary and said, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus” (Luke 1:30-31).
The devil confuses us with thoughts like, “If God would just do something to show me He is real” or “If God would just speak to me” or even “If God could somehow forgive me of my sins, I know that I could never do anything to earn His love or forgiveness.” God has done each of these through the birth of His Son! And because a Holy God did it for sinful humans, it is called grace.
Two, show God’s grace to others with kindness and patience during this stressful season. Three, share God’s grace with others by reading or recounting the story of the birth of Jesus.
Celebrate God’s grace this Christmas season. Pause and allow God’s unmerited favor to flow over you in prayer, surrender and worship. Let its freedom motivate you to celebrate the joy of Christmas with your family and friends, especially those who may be away from Jesus.
Let its spirit of giving infect your giving with great generosity this year. For the first time in several years, OJPM is close to ending with a balanced budget. It is always our biggest month because of the joy of giving at Christmas and the closing out of financial books.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9). Christmas is all about God’s grace. Celebrate His love, joy and forgiveness!