Why does it take Advent to teach me this lesson all over again? It is all a gift. It is all grace. Every breath, every moment of every day, every sunrise, every sunset and every opportunity in between those two events each day, full of possibility, promise and potential is a gift – a gift bestowed by the all encompassing, all surpassing, all sufficient Presence of the Living God in whom I live and move and have my being. He is inescapable and He is all sustaining. “He who fills everything in every way.” “In Him all things hold together.”
And so it is all God’s grace. It is all His undeserved, unappreciated gift to each of us as His dearly loved creation. I am the recipient of His gift of grace whether I acknowledge it or not. The sun shines on me, though I do nothing to deserve its warmth or its light in my life. All is God’s grace – from intact toenails, to redeeming pardon for my many sins, “every good and perfect gift is from my Heavenly Father.” (James 1:17) Every moment is full of God’s grace – waking up, working, every hug, every handshake, every note of every melody, mercy, manna in the desert, a cool breeze on a hot day, hot tea, ice cream, a friend’s listening ear, tears, laughter, spring flowers, fall colors, the dazzling, blinding beauty of an icicle, a purring cat, a flying falcon, pounding waves, encouraging words, second chances, fireflys on a summer night, star filled skies, faith filled hearts, voices singing in harmony, words of truth finding their way, courage coming forth overcoming every fear, freedom to gather together to worship our Creator, – every moment is grace unmerited, unacknowledged and unappreciated until . . .
until the toenail is gone and the church is closed. Then the gift of grace and protection each one of them has been in my life is revealed and recognized for what it has always been, a gift of grace from God. I confess – I seldom fully appreciate and value something until it is taken away from me. Then, too late, I truly appreciate what I had and I long for it to be restored to me. This is true for my big toenail and it is true for my church and the churches across our country. How could I not have valued the important role or function each played in my ordinary, everyday life?
Turns out, my toenail plays a pretty important (if unseen) role that contributes to my physical body operating well as a whole. In the same way, my opportunity to be a part of a community of faith, enables me to thrive and grow as a part of Christ’s body of believers here on earth. I am important to the overall operation of the body just as I am sustained by virtue of belonging to the larger body in the first place. When my opportunity to worship, learn, serve, grow and gather with others is denied, I suffer and the whole body suffers. We need each other.
I don’t want to take God’s gift of daily grace for granted anymore. Today is a gift just as it is, nothing more needs to happen to make it more of a miracle than it already is. God has already given His gift –
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, (me) so that in all things at all times, having all that you (I) need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8)
That’s a lot of alls! All grace, all things, all times, having all I need . . . it is all a gift of God and the gift of His Son is the gift of His grace to each one of us.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” (John 3:16-17)
” But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ ” (Luke 2:10-12)
God’s gift of grace – a Savior! The angel told Joseph concerning Mary,
“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)
The Savior has come! The Savior is coming again. Advent advances. Prepare to receive Him.
“Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is He, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty – He is the King of glory.” (Psalm 24:7-10)
sincerely, Grace Day