Grace for Christmas

December 15, 2010

I know people for whom blogging is like breathing. They do it regularly and quite deeply. It helps sustain the life of their businesses, their ministries or their hobbies. But if it was like breathing for me, I’d be in serious trouble. I think by now I’d be beyond resuscitation; no one goes three or four months without breathing.

After Mom was diagnosed with colon cancer (in September), life became a bit more hectic than my normal slightly abnormal routine. My sister and I swapped out with Mom’s care, but I felt a little awkward to hibernate with my computer when she is so seldom here. So I will admit to neglecting the blog for some time with Mom. She’s gone back home now, fully recovered and so far, able to live on her own.

I have also felt overwhelmed. When emotions are running all over the board, it’s hard for me to focus on writing anything worth reading. Since that time, I’ve settled into a new, smaller church congregation, and I’m grateful for where the Lord has led me (with my husband’s blessing).

Our pastor has been doing a series about “The Family Album.” He encouraged all of us to bring family pictures to set on tables all around the edges of the sanctuary. And in his sermons, he’s discussing the genealogy of Jesus. We’ve looked at some of the “saintly” people mentioned in Matthew 1. What a messed up bunch! Abraham lied about his wife, claiming she was his sister…twice! Check out Genesis 12:10-20 and 20:1-10. Those weren’t his only failings, either. Leaving him, have a look at Jacob, who cheated his brother out of his birthright, lied to his father, and later married two sisters and had kids by them and both their maids. Judah, one of Jacob’s sons, made it into the genealogical list along with his daughter-in-law by whom he fathered twins. That’s one long, disgusting story that reads like a soap opera in Genesis 38.

One point I’ve taken from these fractured lives is that none of these people were perfect. God was the one who chose to use them, not because they had any merit at all, but because He is God. He chooses, calls, and blesses people out of His own righteousness, not that of the people involved. He showcased His grace through the people who became the ancestors of Jesus.

Fast forward to the birth of Christ. God burst through a bloody placenta and landed in a messy, smelly cave full of dirty animals: just a foretaste of human existence. He knew what it would take to reach us (even before He created the first of us!). That same grace that chose the flawed patriarchs and the helplessness of human infancy has chosen me! It’s shocking—almost scandalous—the lavish love that He pours out. Christmas assures me that nothing I can do will cause Him to disown me, shun me or even distance Himself from me. Celebrate! God lives with us!