Ah, Christmas. Our culture misplaces the
significance of the day, with Santa, shopping,
food, and so on. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the
fun of Christmas as much as anyone. I enjoy
giving and receiving gifts. But the gifts under
the tree pale in comparison to the best gift!
One of my favorite verses this time of the year,
although not a "traditional" Christmas passage,
reminds me of the real gift of Christmas.
Christmas and grace go hand-in-hand:
"And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us,
and we saw His glory, glory as of the only
begotten from the Father, full of grace and
truth." (John 1:14)
Jesus, the child born that first Christmas, is
the embodiment of grace!
God's Gift of Grace
I know I'm preaching
to the choir here. We affirm the idea that we
are saved by grace alone through faith alone in
Christmas reminds me that God the Son -
fully God - became fully man for us. He
certainly did not do this because we
deserved it! The
Christmas story means nothing, however, without
the Easter story. That little child born that
day came in order to die for us, the ungodly,
the sick, the helpless, the enemies of God. The
"Sweet little Jesus child" was, in fact, "The
Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the
Our Experience of Grace
I experienced grace
for the first time when I first believed in
Jesus. I received eternal life, I experienced
forgiveness, I was saved! But the first church
went to at the time was legalistic. I missed
grace in my day-to-day life. But we later came
under a series of pastors who understood,
taught, and modeled grace. We learned grace not
only provides our initial salvation, but His
grace is sufficient for everything (2 Cor. 9:8,
Our Practice of Grace
We know we are saved by grace through faith, we
know God's grace is sufficient for everything.
Sometimes, though, it seems the breakdown comes
in practicing grace. Notice how Jesus is
described as "full of
grace and truth"?
I've seen some who use the truth (or at least,
their version of the truth) as a weapon. On the
low end of the scale, it looks like legalism. On
the high end, it becomes toxic, controlling. The
effects are devastating. I've also seen some
that are "legalistic" in their grace. This
Christmas (and beyond), I want to remember to
give the gift of grace to others.
Sure, each of us will face conflict with others
- but how do we handle them? I hope we can
disagree agreeably, be gracious about grace, and
advance the message of grace throughout the
Okay, I can't end the year without an appeal. As
the year comes to an end and you consider
year-end giving, think of FGA.
The mission of FGA is "to
connect, encourage, equip and lead the body of
Christ to advance the grace message throughout
the world." This next year, we want to build and
strengthen each of these three areas. We want to
broaden our international connections. We want
to hold more regional conferences around the
country. We want to improve the ability for
persons and ministries to connect with one
another. Do you want to help?
Here's the link!
Merry Christmas! "And the Word became
flesh...full of grace and truth."
Walking with you in grace,
Roger Fankhauser, D.Min.