Sunday, December 16, 2012

grace filled Christmas

i don't do Santa or elf on the shelf. not due to theological reasons, it goes deeper than that. the concept behind both is that if kids are good enough, on their best behavior, they will get gifts. it sounds good in theory, but i battle a lifelong struggle against this exact mindset. if i'm just good enough, things will be ok. however, this is not how God works. before we were ever deserving, He made the ultimate sacrifice for us. we didn't earn it and we never will. but Grace doesn't stop there.

James 1:17 Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.

notice it does not offer the disclaimer "if we follow the rules" or "if we are deserving" or "if we are good enough". He bestows His gifts simply because He loves us. He already knew we didn't deserve them and we'd never be good enough. He gives them anyway.

many times, we confuse the blessing that comes with obedience with reward for our actions. we are blessed when we obey God because His way is right, therefore it blesses our lives. He's not rewarding us for following the rules. He's showing us the fullness of life that abides in Him. sometimes, it's when we are at worst that we really get this concept. when we are entrenched in sin, staring up from the pit, knowing with every fiber of our being how wretchedly undeserving we are. then He will pour out incredible blessing on us in the midst of it. and we really get that we didn't earn it, we've never earned it. He just loves us. no strings attached. He loves us when we're good and He loves us when we're not.

i have battled this erroneous mindset for most of my life. that i have to strive to be good enough, while never feeling i can achieve it. that i just have to keep working harder and trying more and toiling in vain. it hasn't been until i felt so depleted i was totally incapable of working any more, that He reminded me of His grace. that He blessed me beyond measure when i was so undeserving. by definition grace is unmerited assistance. i don't have to be good enough, He loves me anyway. just the way i am.

so what does this have to do with Santa and the Elf? i don't want my children to go 34 years before getting this. i want them to know that they are loved no matter what. they don't have to earn my love, my gifts or my time. they never have to be good enough for a savior to redeem them. that Christmas is to celebrate the most precious gift of all and one month of "good" behavior is not warranted to receive it.
it's free. it's grace.

1 comment:

Becky said...

I LOVE that you write about this and completely agree. It often comes on days I really REALLY need to hear it... This is how I was raised as well.