Week 2 | Shepherds

A Gift of Grace


Read: Luke 2:8-20

As much as we may enjoy the Hallmark Christmas movies, full of true love, perfect families and snow-covered landscapes, the truth is, life is a mess. But sometimes this rose-colored version of Christmas sets unrealistic expectations that drive us to fake it till we make it. On social media, we curate and share postcard moments to convince our friends and followers (and maybe ourselves) that we are worthy of the world’s approval.

Here is the reality: the reason God came from Heaven to Earth in the form of a tiny baby is BECAUSE life IS a mess - and it’s a mess because WE broke it. And, when you look at the Christmas story, you realize that God did not choose to announce the news of Jesus’ arrival to the super saints and the perfect phonies who filled the temples. Late that Christmas night, the angels appeared to a band of outcast, lonely and fearful shepherds. Why? Because only until you realize your need for a Savior, are you prepared to receive the gift of the Savior’s grace.

Ephesians 2:1-9 says, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”

God isn’t impressed with the invented Christmas-card version of ourselves. So let go of the pressure to live up to the world’s version of a “perfect Christmas,” and thank God for a perfect Savior who loves us in the midst of our mess.     

Pray: God, thank you for accepting me just as I am, and thank you for your gift of grace. Keep me from getting caught in the drive to present a picture-perfect version of my family this Christmas. Help me see them as you see them - imperfect people in need of your love and grace. In Jesus’s name, amen.