Giftwrapping God’s Grace
“That Christmas feeling” is among God’s most gracious gifts. It’s an emotion wrapped in the most profound and holy theme of Christmas, the loving grace of Almighty God that bequeaths to fallen mankind a death-defeating, sin-forgiving and divine-relationship-restoring savior: the incarnate God Jesus Christ.
Grace. God’s grace. Our loving grace to each other. The grace of family. The grace of Mary and Joseph, shepherds and wise men. The grace of a simple gift under the tree. The grace of transcendent peace, eternal rest, and glorious, heavenly expectation. Grace that bestows unmerited favor; favor without a counterbalance. Grace that preserves, cheers, and enlightens a soul and insists on its freedom. Grace that is the eternal promise and present proof of everlasting joy.
This magnificent Godly grace is mysteriously devoid of worldly, observable “transaction.” Divine grace is willfully and unselfishly doing something for somebody else out of love, not calculated return. God’s grace fuels the warmth, peace, love, and giving of “that Christmas feeling.”
So with gift-giving, peace and love rooted in our modern Christmas activities, it seems that grace, worthily, should be the central conversational point and cosmic theme of celebrating Christmas. But it’s a point often missed and a theme rarely mentioned. For example, have you ever heard the word “grace” in a Christmas carol?
Shockingly, I don’t think you have, at least not in the common carols we sing in church and hear on the radio (in between Jingle Bells and Santa Baby). I went looking for “grace” and couldn’t find it.
I found other words: truth, light, peace, hope, joy, glory, holy, triumphant, wondrous, power, gift, rejoice, praise, blessing, love, faithful, king, mortals, angels, salvation, savior, sweetly, glowing, glorious, tidings, comfort, cheer, Lord, baby, manger, God, brave, cradle, jubilee, heavenly, and divine. Even the words Satan, oppression, fear, error, lowly and sin. But not grace. And trust me on this … I looked. Google, Internet, time, creative searching … all expended without result. If it’s there, I missed it. In our prosaic musical lexicon celebrating the incarnation of Christ, “grace” seems to be missing.
The apostle Paul starts all 13 of his letters in the Bible with the greeting “grace and peace.” It’s not an insignificant, rote salutation. It bespeaks Paul’s bedrock grounding in the grace of Jesus Christ and the peace of man’s salvation. The word “grace” is MIA in Christmas carols? That’s OK. As long as we know that God’s grace through Jesus Christ surpasses any earthly celebration or gift we can imagine, let’s not get wrapped up in a word. Have a merry – and gracious – Christmas!
Walters (firstname.lastname@example.org) always had “that Christmas feeling” but never knew what it was until he found faith in Christ.