Are you wondering if the ribbon-tied packages under the tree hold the gifts you are hoping for this Christmas?
One gift you are sure to receive is the gift of grace. I love the idea of this gift, which is mentioned in the Bible on several occasions. In the letter to the Ephesians is the assurance, “[U]nto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ” (4:7).
This message reminds me of a line in the Lord’s Prayer, for which Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, gave a spiritual interpretation: “Give us this day our daily bread; Give us grace for to-day; feed the famished affections” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 17). To me, this grace or daily bread is the gift of spiritual qualities given to us by God to deal with whatever comes up in our day.
Many situations – possibly most – are not of our choosing, and even those that we do choose sometimes present surprises and make demands on us that we don’t welcome at first. Often these situations concern how we relate to people we work with, to family members, or to just the folks we encounter as we go about our business. But our relationship with God as His loved children is such that He always gives us the qualities that we need to work through these situations, ways of thinking and acting that take us beyond our initial reaction to things.
When we find ourselves concerned about the people around us, we usually need to bring some aspect of love to the scene. This is essentially what Jesus taught in his Sermon on the Mount (see Matthew, Chaps. 4-6). Perhaps patience, unselfishness, or even forgiveness is called for, but whatever it is that’s needed, we can rely on its supply. God, divine Love itself, and the source of the love that we express, gives us the love we need with which to love. This is the gift of grace, and it is freely given to us every day.
In fact, it represents His will, His goodwill, and it corresponds to the angelic message that heralded Christ Jesus’ birth, “On earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14). It signifies the daily activity of God in our lives. What we need to do is to open our hearts to it to let it into our lives. This gift of grace also acts as a divine influence in our thoughts, bringing calm where there may be turbulence, vitality where there is weariness, and enabling us to review the events of each day with gratitude.
There may be tricky times when we need courage to stand by a decision that’s unpopular, or honesty to admit a mistake, but whatever is required, we can be sure that if we look to God for these qualities rather than to mere personal reserves, we can express them fully and feel strengthened and supported as we do so.
The gift of grace is never withheld or withdrawn; it’s ours to enjoy and to use. Every one of us can go forward in the new year, confident that we are granted all that we need to meet whatever presents itself in our day – with grace.
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