Mama Grace found her in the rubbish pile along the roadside. A baby, only a few weeks old, her tiny and lifeless body thrown away like a possession. She was found around the corner from where I was staying in Uganda. My heart was burdened for that sweet baby, she should have known the goodness of life before she ever tasted death, she should have known what it was to be loved. But instead she tasted the bitterness of this harsh world, left among the trash that was to be burned. If only the mother had abandoned her at our gate, at the hospital or an orphanage, there would still be life in that small body. But she lay there unwanted, tossed away and forgotten.
Lying lifeless beside this broken path of life, Grace found us the same way. We were waiting for life to be breathed into our souls because we were unable to sustain ourselves. Living our sin filled ways in the rubbish and just longing to be more. Fear and doubt and shame consuming any glimpse of goodness. Our hearts empty of any hope, void of the sweetness of living a life of love and joy. Oh, to be worth something, to be cherished, to be enough.
Heaven stepped down, stepped into the darkness, into the cold and filthy world. The unspeakable glorious one, welcomed by the animals in the stillness of the night. Heaven’s purity and the earth’s wickedness meeting. Jesus stepped into our place. He endured the mocking and shame, but He fought the darkness with glory. He was man and at the same time He was perfection and everything Holy. He walked the earth in human form the sin, the burden of pain, the weight of the world was on His shoulders. Earth wasn’t ready for the Messiah, but I don’t think it ever would have been or ever will be. They had waited, they had talked, they had prayed for the One who would save them from their iniquities. Yet, here He was and they didn’t recognize Him.
Our blemished hearts could never have touched the beauty of heaven, we could have never tasted and seen that the Lord’s faithfulness is the only way we could ever hold our heads above the pain of this world. We were broken, far from heaven and healing. But then Christ came in human form to make that ultimate sacrifice that would flow to the ends of the earth and through the ages.
Grace was born that day in Bethlehem, grace that is endless. Grace that doesn’t see where we have been or what we have done, but only welcomes us with rejoicing. Grace that takes a lifeless body and makes it into everything beautiful. Grace that unifies us with the Holy ones and sets us apart. In our deepest and darkest moments it tells us we are still enough. It whispers through our afflictions that no matter how far from the cross we feel, we can never out run Christ. Grace allows God to see past our broken spirit and see the holiness that once existed in the Garden of Eden. The humans He created in His own image, and He loves us with a love we can never fathom.
Most days I forget grace, I forget that I have nothing I can do to prove my worthiness to the Father, because I am so empty. I am running a race that has already been won, I try to measure up to worldly standards and church standards and I forget. Grace that spilled upon the earth from a dirty manger holding a Holy One. Grace that flows freely through the crimson blood of Christ. Grace that embraces failures and flaws and makes us enough. Grace that bridges a gap between darkness and Holiness. Grace that triumphs over a world that has been conquered by evil.
This world right now is terrifying, the bad that seems to be closing in on us, the danger that surrounds us, the sadness that threatens to break our hearts and leave us wounded. But because of this unchanging and unshaken grace, we continue on this broken journey. We are perfection because of grace. We are Christ’s children, His chosen ones, His reputation on earth. Peace on earth and mercy mild can be lived through us because of grace.
While the world is trembling this Christmas with rumors of wars and death and riots, I choose to find joy through this grace that echos the promises of Heaven. I choose to see the good in the world, because of grace. I choose to look forward with this new year and pray that peace and mercy and joy and love will flow freely from me, that I may reflect the sweetness of Jesus. I choose to celebrate Christ’s birth 365 days a year, because without that silent and holy night, I would have never known life. I choose not to just survive but to thrive because the cross is finished, my debts are paid, and grace is freedom.
Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be;
Let that grace now like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee:
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it;
Prone to leave the God I love.
Here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.