It’s me again. First of all, I think I should start out by confessing that I’ve been slacking on the blog. I have had really good intentions; however, it hasn’t happened. My last post I talked about my pregnancy, which was the first time on the blog. While the pregnancy has been a fairly smooth one (thank God!), I don’t have the energy to do all that I usually do. I’m sorry.
I’ve been feeling God laying it on my heart to write about grace. Usually I make some connection with something in my life to faith. It would be easy for me to write about how much grace my husband has given me throughout this pregnancy (Seriously, you should have seen the kitchen this morning!). It would be easy for me to write about all sorts of instances in my life, when people have shown more grace than I deserve.
What those examples would miss is the magnitude of God’s grace. God’s grace is everything that He gives to us that we don’t deserve. In my mind that’s pretty much everything. Everything that God gives to me and to everyone else is grace. So as we have started this season in preparation for Christmas, the most obvious gift that God has given to us is Jesus. Through this gift we have a relationship with God. It’s not anything that we have done that has earned the grace.
Now, I hope this doesn’t come as a shock, but I am not perfect. Ok. There. I said it. No matter how hard I try to live as God wants me to live, I cannot live to His standard. But that just shows me how much God loves me and
reminds me of His wonderful grace.
Here’s where the rubber meets the road: I want to show others God’s grace. Even if it’s really hard. I cannot give them the gift of Jesus (only God does that), but I can give them love during the difficult times. So as you’re wrapping presents or decorating the tree, think about one way to show God’s grace to someone you know.
Last year at this time I was able to empathize with Mary. I had a taste of what it was like. I was about a month away from giving birth to our first child. I was excited and nervous all at the same time. I had this anticipation like never before. Chris and I even took a journey. It was to South Londonderry. We made the decision to come here for sure a year ago. We chose to follow God and move here. Mary and Jospeh chose to follow God and bring into the world our Savior, Jesus.
I am not comparing us to them. I just think that we have a new understanding of Mary and Joseph's experiences here on earth. I have a new appreciation for what they did in following God. It makes me want to do what God wants me to do. So much good comes out of doing what God wants us to do. My motto right now is: Do Good. Simple as that.
My prayer is that I would live my life knowing that God has a plan for my life (like Mary and Joseph). My prayer is that I would live my life doing what God wants me to do (Do good.). I encourage you to pray the same.
May you have a blessed Christmas!
Here is a table. It may seem like just a nice looking table that you might find at your grandmother's house, sitting in a corner with a doily and a nice looking vase. It's First Baptist's Advent Wreath table. And it's not new. It's the one we used last year and the year before that (and so on...).
Someone from church took it home almost a year ago. She was a little nervous last year, because it was tippy. Candles and tippy tables don't seem like a good idea. She brought it home, fixed it up, and gave it a new coat of stain. Almost like new, except it's something old.
The story of Jesus is an old one. He came to earth so many years ago. The story is just as good now as it was a couple of thousand years ago (or so). We find new and fresh ways of telling the story of Jesus. The story, though, is really always the same.
God came to earth as a baby, because He loves us all that much. God's Son, Jesus, came and made a sacrifice so that we can have a relationship with God. It's a story of real love. It's the best story.
This is the time of year that we all prepare for December 25th. We all have that blessed expectation, right? We're all excited to share in all our family traditions, right? It's supposed to be the happiest time of year. Sometimes it is. What if it's not? What if the amount of shopping or Christmas cards or missing someone just seems overwhelming?
You are not alone. It can be a tough time of year. I'm not going to give you the type of advice that seems impractical or won't make things better. I am going to tell you that there's a bunch of us who genuinely care about each other that gather together every Sunday morning to worship God (see home page).
We don't have life all figured out. (In fact we know that life is messy and difficult at times.) We do want to learn and grow and help one another. If that sounds good to you, check us out. See if we are who we say we are. Feel free to come a couple minutes late and stand just inside the front entrance (and drink copious amounts of coffee that you'll find to your right). If being right there feels comfortable, feel free to stay right there for the service. Just come as you are.
This is written by Kathleen Blackey, follower of Jesus and co-pastor at First Baptist Church.