I just can’t get over the grace that I’m under. It’s winter as I write this… December to be exact. And that of course means Christmas. If it wasn’t for Christmas, December would hardly be worth keeping in the calendar.
I grew up in the chilly northwest, lived in Michigan, pastored in Alaska. All of those places have their virtues – and their vices. I remember one December weekend in Michigan when the snow assaulted us horizontally. It created drifts that swept up the back of the house connecting the ground to the eaves. One winter morning we woke up in Fairbanks and the thermometer on the front porch said -70°F. I just checked Google and it’s -24° there right now…and it’s about noon. That’s brutal. They’ll have just over 3 ½ hours of daylight today.
Now we’re certain Jesus wasn’t born in the winter. One reason is that it would be highly unlikely for shepherds to be sleeping out under the night sky near Bethlehem on December 24. How the birthday of Jesus got placed on that date is not the theme of this blog. There’s a far bigger issue here.
And it’s this: He was born. Following a plan laid out in eternity past, He came here. He spoke the planets into existence, then chose to be born on one of them. The rebel one. The one where He met first with His children in an expansive garden to explain to them who He was and who they were, then another garden, a thousand rebellions later, where He would plead for and provide for their rescue. We call it grace.
Grace. Big word. It means we received as a gift that which we did not deserve. It means He took the death that was ours and gave us the life that was His. Sometimes when I’m with Him in the early morning and I ponder what He did the word Amazing comes to mind. And I just can’t get over the grace that I’m under.
I know, there are some – even some believers – who are nervous about all the noise around December 25 because the date is likely of pagan origin. But as I see it, that’s not the issue. The date is not the issue or God would have recorded it. The event is the issue. He chose to leave where He was and come to where we were because He couldn’t bear the thought of not being near us. He left behind the adoration of uncounted angels and came here knowing we would spit on Him because, given the heinous nature of our rebellion, there was no other way. One inspired 19th century writer says, “Jesus did not count heaven a place to be desired while we were lost.” And that’s why I just can’t get over the grace that I’m under.