By Pastor Stuart Weist
First Baptist Church of Preston
The Christmas season is upon us, and we know what that means. It’s that time of year to purchase gifts for family and friends, attend holiday concerts, put up lights, and hang ornaments on the tree. Hopefully all these holiday activities fill your home and heart with joy. Hopefully the lights remind you as a believer in Christ to be the light of the world (MT 5:14) and cause you to reflect on the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The Christmas season is a time to pause and remember who it is that we celebrate.
Unfortunately, the holidays are not always filled with joy for everyone. Some struggle with the loss of a loved one, some dread family gatherings, some dread the bills that will come next month. This is why we must remember to give grace this holiday season. Grace when waiting in long lines at the grocery store, grace when the parking lots are full, and grace when someone makes that harsh comment without thinking first. Grace is the key to showing the love of Christ because grace is the greatest gift anyone can receive. When we pause to reflect on this truth, we realize that it is by Grace that we are saved though faith and not of our works (Eph 2:8-9). It is this grace we ought to extend to one another as well.
This holiday season, when you gather with family and friends, remember to practice grace. Reflect on the grace that Christ shows us in that “while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8-9). It is this unmerited favor we call grace that we ought to celebrate this Christmas season. It is this love though grace that ought to characterize our speech and our actions. When we read the Bible accounts about the birth of Christ and the announcement to lowly shepherds by that heavenly chorus in the field, we ought to stand in awe of His grace poured out to us. Then, if we have accepted that grace by accepting Christ as our Savior, we ought to show that same grace to those around us. We need to remember that we are all sinners in need of a Savior and none of us deserved God’s grace (Romans 3:23-24) yet Christ came to save sinners that by his grace we would be reconciled to the Father once for all (1 Timothy 1:15-16).
This Christmas, don’t become overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of the season. Instead, slow down, breathe, and focus on what truly matters. Focus on the reason for the season in Jesus Christ, and grow in grace as you practice showing love to one another. Invite neighbors over for coffee, help clear someone’s driveway, and pray for those in need. Let this season be a season of grace in your life. If you want to learn more about God’s grace join us at the First Baptist Church of Preston this Sunday.