I strive to be a culturist. I’m not sure what that means to you. To me it means I strive to live with one foot in this world and the other in the world to come. So if you will pardon a reverend for a moment I wish to speak for a moment about cultural Christmas in lieu of the other one. Cultural Christmas is highlighted for me by the entire gift-giving experience. It is that experience that helps me understand God’s grace.
For most of my life it has been this way. I’ve always been drawn to the idea that God gave us Jesus as the greatest gift ever. My early understanding of my role in the story was that I went to a store that I could not usually afford to shop in and purchased a gift that I could not usually afford to purchase. You may say, “That’s it.” Or, “That’s close.” But I say, “That’s not grace.”
Grace does for me what I could never do for myself.
My growing experience is that those who speak little of grace have been left unconvinced of their own need of it.
So how does Christmas speak to me of grace? I see myself as the recipient of the gift not the purchaser. This is not a gift exchange. I don’t bring my faith to Jesus and have Him trade it in for His grace. That’s not grace. That notion suggests that my faith is necessary for His grace to be efficacious. Grace is only grace when it acts alone. Even my faith is given by His grace.
In this way Christmas helps me understand grace.