He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him . . . [He] came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
A Savior Born to Dwell Among Us Bringing Grace
Think of the people to whom you gave Christmas gifts this year. Now think of those from whom you received Christmas gifts. Maybe they include family, friends, co-workers, classmates, neighbors, a significant other. How many gifts were exchanged with complete strangers? Probably not many. What about those whom you would consider your enemies?
A gift given to someone who is completely undeserving, without any qualifications, expectations, or conditions, is called grace. And there is no story more full of grace than the story of Jesus.
At the beginning of time, God created human beings and gave them everything they could ever need. Deceived by the devil, they were discontent and wanted more. They rebelled against God and didn’t want him or his rules. Ever since, human beings have looked for ways to push God out of our lives. We want to be our own gods, seeking God’s blessings on our terms, living by rules that line up with our own self-serving interests and pleasures.
And yet God wanted to give us a gift—the greatest gift anyone could imagine—his own Son. A Savior. And how did people receive him? Many rejected him. Few rejoiced at his coming. Some tried to kill him, and they succeeded. The Son of God, who came to dwell among them as their Savior, was killed.
But God’s grace was at work. Jesus’ death was not the nail in the coffin that ended any hope of being loved by God. It was that which removed every nail from our coffin, so that sin and death can’t hold us, but we will rise to live with God forever.
Christmas is the story of God’s pure grace. In unconditional love, God came to save selfish sinners—you and me and all people—who didn’t deserve anything from him. He came to rescue those who hated him. Jesus is proof that we are loved unconditionally.
Of the Father’s love begotten, Jesus, you came in love to rescue me when I didn’t deserve it. Move me to receive your grace with rejoicing. Amen.