Did you spend an obscene amount of money this holiday season on gifts you promised yourself you would not buy? Was your son on the naughty list ALL YEAR LONG but mysteriously transformed into this angelic-like creation the entire month of December (making you feel obligated to forgive his past transgressions while standing in the incessant Wal-Mart checkout line)? Is your bank account suffering from ACC- “After Christmas Crisis”?
Don’t beat yourself up about it too much (this time). Every once in a while, as parents, we go a little overboard, giving our children any and everything they request. By the way, we absolutely should NOT do that! We should avoid getting in the habit of rewarding or reinforcing negative behavior altogether. However, if the spirit and expectation of the holiday season clouded your sound parental judgment, there’s still an opportunity to bring some good out of this blemished situation. Twist the outcome into a lesson on grace.
Grace is defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as, “a special favor”, a “temporary exemption”, even, “disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency”. For those of us who are followers of Christ though, grace represents even more.
Grace is the unmerited favor from God. Grace is the bestowal of blessings EVEN THOUGH we are undeserving. Grace is God not giving us what we deserve, but often what we request. Grace is God loving us despite our repeated appearance on the naughty list.
Let me bring it down to earth a little more. As adults, grace is our manager refraining from firing us, even though we’ve arrived late time after time again. Grace is the doctor’s office waiving the $25 missed appointment fee. Grace is that phone bill NOT going into collections even though it’s excessively past due.
You see, sometimes, we all need a little grace. Grace is often times NOT getting what we deserve. We deserve to be fired. We deserve to pay the missed appointment fee. We deserve to have that bill go into collections and cause a major hit to our credit score. Sometimes though, grace steps in and gives us what we need or what we asked for and NOT what we deserve. Every once in a while we just need to be cut a break! And that’s God’s grace…cutting us break, after break, after break…
So turn this year’s compulsive shopping into a lesson. No, he didn’t deserve those expensive new shoes. No, she definitely didn’t earn that tablet. No, YOU don’t deserve that raise or promotion. But that’s the power and the lesson on grace. Sometimes we are given not what we deserve, but what we request because of a loving heart and yes…because of Grace.
Remind them though, that grace is not to be taken lightly. True appreciation of grace is a change in behavior. You show gratitude for grace by fixing the issue, getting off the naughty list, and showing true respect and gratitude for the gifts you know you don’t deserve.
“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.”