“Grace and Peace, y’all”

Think about what we have in Christ: the encouragement he has brought us, the comfort of his love, our sharing in his Spirit, and the mercy and kindness he has shown us. If you enjoy these blessings, then do what will make my joy complete: Agree with each other, and show your love for each other. Be united in your goals and in the way you think. In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too.

Philippians 2:1-4
– WTB 2020, my one and only movie role!

While “Peace” and “Grace” may be this week’s focus words, typically we tend to think of both in a passive sense, in terms of receiving. We have this image – at least I do – of gathering around a nativity, or lighting candles in church, and having peace and grace bestowed upon us.

That much is true, of course, because there is nothing like Christmas when it comes to receiving such gifts. We tend to go to great lengths to find “gotta get me some of that” Christmas Spirit, and even those who generally don’t believe will show up for a Walk Through Bethlehem, or Christmas Eve services. Oh how we long for the peace and the grace of the classic holiday scene.

But today I want to suggest that we refocus, and see this more in terms of giving.

When we look to acquire something like The Christmas Spirit we will – invariably and inevitably – miss out. If however we focus on bringing peace and grace to others, then we will – unavoidably and inescapably – be filled to overflowing in every way.

The people filled up with peace and grace this season are those who are, as Paul writes in Philippians 2, “humble, and honor others more than themselves… (who are) not interested only in their own life, but care about the lives of others too…”

  • People who kneel humbly before the Christ-child…
  • who give far more than they ever get…
  • who are kind and encouraging and generous…
  • who make others’ wishes come true…
  • who sing carols at a local nursing home…
  • who serve the hungry…
  • who pray with people who are hurting…
  • who help an elderly neighbor decorate a tree…
  • who invite a lonely person to share the holiday…
  • who live as the presence of Jesus in this world….
NC writer Derek Maul

If we are wondering where all the peace and the grace is this Christmas, how to hook up with “the magic”, and how to feel the real spirit of the season… then let’s simply be peace and grace to the world.

Grace and peace, y’all – DEREK

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