The new calendars are up, the wrapping, bows and boxes that surrounded our feet on Christmas morning are gone and many folks have breathed a deep sigh and announced that the “holiday hoopla” is over it’s time to “move forward” with our days. There aren’t many days remaining in the liturgical season of Christmas, but before we hitch up our horses and charge forward, stop with me if you will and let’s take a look backwards at our greatest Christmas gift. As we celebrate the Epiphany and shortly after that the Baptism of Jesus, it’s important to know that Epiphany means “to make known” or “to reveal” and the very essence of these celebrations asks us to recognize that Christ was revealed when He came to the world...to US! Whether in the stable as the Christ Child the Magi adored or at his baptism as a grown man on the banks of the Jordan, these two important days remind us to celebrate his incarnation; the gift of God to each of us, sent to earth wrapped and packaged perfectly in the flesh of a man.
The Word became a human and lived among us. We saw his glory that belongs to the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth. From him we all received grace in place of grace. John 1:14, 16
I think the greatest gift of Christmas is GRACE. The Catechisms of the Catholic Church defines grace as “the free and undeserved gift that God gives us to respond to our vocation to become his adopted children.” Listen to John’s words again…grace in place of grace. That’s the same as saying God gives gift on top of gift. When we make a list of all the gifts we got for Christmas, we should consider the gift of God’s grace, through Jesus, the best one of all and what makes that gift even more amazing, is that if we thank Him for it and recognize it is free and undeserved from Him, He will multiply the gift daily, even hourly. Talk about something you can’t find at the mall or earn Kohl’s cash for! But wait it gets better…it comes with a guarantee…a lifetime guarantee...His grace won’t ever be on backorder, it will never go out of fashion, it will never wear out. In fact, the more you use it, the bigger and better it gets. The gift of His grace is always the perfect size, goes with us anywhere and is useful in all situations. Quite simply put, God’s grace came to us as a 7 pound miracle with the most humble beginning the mind can imagine but through the simplicity and humbleness of the gift, we are the benefactors of a power and a love strong enough to accomplish absolutely anything.
So what’s the catch? What’s in the fine print? What do we have to do to cash in on this gift? Ask for it and then share it with others! That’s all there is to it! The more grace you ask for, the more He will give you and every time you share it, more is given both to you and the person you shared God’s grace with. Here’s how it works, if you pray for the grace of patience, He will give you the gift of that grace, then if you turn around and share that patience by attentively listening to someone tell their troubles instead of muttering to yourself about how you’re too busy to listen, then you will be blessed with more of God’s grace and you will have shared the patient love of Jesus with a person who may have needed that love at that very moment in ways you can never know. The gift of Grace is given not just for us to keep for ourselves, but it’s for us to share…that’s what God did with His son Jesus, He shared His son with us to show His infinite and amazing love. Grace is not just our most fabulous Christmas gift, it’s also the first and most spectacular “re-gift” known to man!
The Three Kings presented the Baby Jesus with gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh and John the Baptist shared the gift of the Father’s Holy Spirit with the grown up Jesus at His baptism. Which Christmas gift of grace will you share with the people God puts in your path; will it be the grace of patience, kindness, loving words, courage or faith? If you’re not sure which gift to try out first, just ask Him, He knows and He will be happy to supply you with the gift you need most. Before the Wise Men began their journey, they knew precisely what gift they would share. As you begin your journey into a new year, take a few minutes to prayerfully and precisely plan the gifts of grace you will request and share.
Blessings on your day!
Copyright 2013 Sheri Wohlfert
About the Author
Sheri is a Catholic wife, mom, speaker and teacher. She uses her great sense of humor and her deep faith to help others discover the joy of being a child of God. Her roots are in Kansas but her home is in Michigan. The mission of her ministry is to encourage others to look at the simple ways we can all find God doing amazing things smack dab in the middle of the laundry, ball games, farm chores and the hundred other things we manage to cram into a day. Sheri also writes at JoyfulWords.org.