Full of Grace

nativity-stained-glass

John 1:14 “We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Grace is a very special kind of love God has for us. It is not an “easy” love. Why wouldn’t I love my wife and my family? That is a relatively “easy” kind of love. They make my home a warm and pleasant place to live. They fill the house with laughter and comfort. Loving them is like riding a bicycle downhill. It happens all on its own. It would take effort to prevent it.

Why wouldn’t I love my car, that makes my life so easy, and gets me from point A to point B with almost no work at all? Why wouldn’t I love my house, which keeps me warm in the winter, and cool in the summer, and sheltered all year round? Why wouldn’t I love my clothes which can even create the illusion that I look better than I actually do?

But you know how quickly all of this can turn. Family members get under each other’s skin, and push each other’s buttons, and before you know it they are looking for ways to get out of the relationship. Our “stuff” wears out, and soon we are ready to junk it or trade it in for something newer and better. “Easy” love often doesn’t last very long.

Jesus loves the sinners, the people who have always brought him misery. “A friend of sinners,” they called him. He didn’t deny it. “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” He actually seeks them out, like the collector who is looking for some rare piece to purchase and to own.

He does more than desire them. He serves them. He saves them. It is his gift. It is why he became flesh and made his dwelling among us. He came to die for us. That was his mission, his purpose, his goal. It was not like it is with the soldiers, or the firefighters, who put themselves in danger to save others, and may even die in the process. Death is a hazard of their professions, but it isn’t their goal. Jesus loved us so much that he came with the intention to die in our place and free us from sins. That kind of love, the love that loves sinners, the love that dies to serve and save them, is the love we know as “grace.”

Jesus is full of that kind of grace. For him it’s not a passing fancy, and tomorrow he will come to his senses and realize that there is nothing it for him. He isn’t going to run out of patience pretty soon, and then look out for what he might do! Grace, this undeserved love, fills him. It is his standard operating procedure and always has been. It flows from his every word, his every action, in an unending supply. To know him is to know this love we know as “grace.”

In the Christmas gospel we get our first glimpse of this grace that will take him from lowly manger and smelly stable to a bloody cross and a borrowed grave. From here you can see his glory in the grace that will save your soul.

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