Friday, December 7, 2012

December Grace

Aurora Over Iowa
Aurora Over Iowa, Copyright Stan Richards (

December is the last month in the year. In many ways it symbolizes finality, and yet for the Christian, it is the beginning. In December, we honor the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. For unto us a child is born is one of the most memorable statements in this life.

Many see December as the month which ushers in winter. In northern climates, winters mean snow, ice, less sunlight and cold, cold days.

For some, December is their birth month; a day of celebration.

For others, it can mean a time of great loneliness, depression and futility. While many celebrate December, others will mourn the loss of someone close. Some will choose to end life rather than celebrate it.

For me, December is always special. It is special because I was born in this month, so I have always welcomed it. As a child, it was special not just because of my birthday, but because of Christmas, snowy days in Chicago, playing with my brothers, and huge meals prepared by my grandmother.

My grandmother loved to cook. Cooking for her was an honorable endeavor; she relished in the traditions of cooking for our family.

I can look back now and see that she did this by grace. For me, cooking was and still is an effort. I am (as Paul would say), “Under the law” when it comes to cooking. My grandmother cooked under grace. It was a grace that gave her the freedom to cook with her whole heart.

I realize that it is far better to live by grace than the law. The law does not impute life. It is tedious, and exhausting. At some point, we become tired of the law, but grace never tires us.

Paul writes, “Whatever you do, do as unto the Lord.

I realize that what Paul is saying to me is that my attitude in whatever I do should be to please God with my life. This has often come into conflict with my need to please and gratify myself. Yet God still calls to me to walk in the grace given to me.

Grace is such a marvelous gift that we often overlook its significance. I was talking with someone recently about forgiveness. In my feeble attempt to explain it, I asked, “When is a person forgiven by God? Is it when I ask for forgiveness? Is it when Christ died on the cross? Is it when God sacrificed animals in the garden to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve? Or was it before creation itself when in the infinite knowledge of God He knew we needed redemption?

For me, all these are true. But I realize that God is not a sequential being like me; He is infinite! I need to follow a set of protocols, but God has no protocols that direct Him.

So, I am left with grace as my answer. To bask in God’s grace is beyond words. I cannot describe or explain it in a way that makes sense to someone who has never experienced the grace of God. To that person, grace is simply a word we banter about.

To me, it is what holds me firm in my belief of redemption, salvation and eternity. Grace is what leads me into prayer. Grace confirms for me that the Invisible God lives! Grace reveals to me that Christ rose from the dead and paid the penalty for sin in this world. Grace leads me to embrace the gift of life and inspires me to be better than I was; I want to please God because I want to hear the words,Well done.

Each day as we draw nearer to the celebration of the birth of Christ, it is my hope that we recognize and appreciate the grace which has been given to us.

Special Note: I would just like to say that I appreciate each of you who visit My Thought-filled Journey. The individual comments have been both insightful and encouraging. I had no idea when I began this journey where it would take me or when it will end, but I find myself inspired by the many thoughts others express here and on their personal blogs. Please know you are in my prayers. I have not said it enough, but thank you for the light of Chist in your life which illuminates the way for us all.

by MTJ

Spiritual Sunday'sNote: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).


Lill said...

Ah Grace...It is a difficult concept for us humans to grasp, for it is so beyond our dailey dealings with each other. I thank God that He does not so deal with me. I thank God for His Grace.