Day Four: Re-Gifting Grace

Four minutes left to this fourth day of Christmas, and I am just now able to sit down and write. Maybe the four paragraphs of this blog will make up for the length of the last one : ) I think about Gift Number Two in the Christmas Story:

Grace. What does it mean exactly? Forgiveness.....what does it entail? How do we find it, and what does it really have to do with Christmas? I remember watching the magic in Julia's eyes last Christmas Eve. As she asked questions about Santa's arrival and voiced concerns about how he would get into the house. Jumping at every tiny sound as bedtime drew closer and closer - bursting with anticipation. We put out the carrots for the reindeer and drew Santa some pictures for him to find beside his cookies and milk. I don't think I have ever seen her eyes so full of Wonderment. Ever. To tiny hearts with childlike faith and dreams of Sugar Plum Fairies - Christmas is truly magical.

Magical....magical.... I travel back in time to think about that night. God being born from His creation. Pure love transformed into flesh. Grace Personified. Grace. An Act of Forgiveness. A Choice to Release. A gift that we receive so freely, yet seem to give so sparingly. Yet what we don't realize is that it is only ourselves that we are truly damaging. We can't feel the fruit of true Joy when we still have roots in Unforgiveness. Oil and Water.

You know, I could use a hundred flowery words to capture the heart or tell stories that would connect the dots - but I think the heart of forgiveness and the essence of grace can be truly narrowed down into a few statements. God has so patiently taught me this: We don't forgive because what the person did was justified, not because they are deserving, or even because they ask for forgiveness or are sorrowful. Forgiveness doesn't even necessarily mean we stop being completely angry with that person.....though with enough time that may come. Forgiveness is the beginning of healing a broken part of your spirit. It a process in practicing grace - it is slow and it is grueling and it is necessary. William P. Young says that "It is about letting go of another person's throat." Why? Mainly because we ourselves were released long ago on a Magical Starlit Night when Grace became Flesh. The essence of forgiveness being born in a babe. That night, the universe changed forever. With the birth of a Savior, a Grace entered the world that could never be replicated and would never again be witnessed. Forgiveness came full circle...........and we would never be the same. Thank God we would never be the same.

This week, as we are surrounded by those we love dearly and those we simply don't like very much. Those who have loved us well and those who have hurt us deeply. May we have the courage to give that grace-filled gift that we ourselves were given - not because it is easy, but because it is best.

Enjoy Day Three.....In all it's magic.