Despite the overly efficient and inspiring store displays that suggest decorating my house for both Halloween and Thanksgiving in September, I just am not there yet. I rarely send out Christmas cards on time, if ever. And I can’t multi-task fall holidays, months ahead of time.
In all honesty, I have a really hard time with holidays.
I struggle to forget the difficult memories that are intertwined with the good ones. Even the forgiven things are hard to forget.
Because life can be messy, and relationships are tricky sometimes. Know what I mean?
For many of us, holiday gatherings can require forced smiles and much bravery. Never mind carry on a meaningful conversation, or enjoy an event when the confusing emotions whirling inside are almost palpable and struggle to remain internal. I have yet to find a Hallmark card that can write those sentiments appropriately.
While I admire those who seize the opportunity to create seasonal displays, no amount of sparkly décor has ever been enough to overtake the shadows of the aching memories.
And those are what bring me to my knees. Again and again.
When it is really hard to find the good in the midst of the chaos and losses that too quickly swallow up joy and hope and love.
When it is really hard to be the good that must rise above the noise that threatens to drown out peace and stillness.
When it is really hard to share the good with those who most challenge my innermost need to build barriers of self-preservation.
I fall hard. In so many ways. And maybe you do too.
Fall hard on weary knees, emptying the struggles from torn-up souls. Hoping to be filled with a gift that is greater than the battles – the gift of His grace.
Because here’s the thing – Christ’s grace has been there the whole time. For you and me.
His grace was there when we fought back against the flood of emotions brought on by festive décor and family gatherings.
His grace was there when we lost sight of the joy we most needed and least wanted to share.
His grace was there when we could no longer hear the peace of His gentle whispers through the noise.
His grace was there when we hid within the confines of our fears and self-preservation.
Christ’s grace has been there all along.
Boundless. Grace. For me. For you. For those situations and individuals where and with whom we most struggle to give grace.
Ephesians 4:7(NIV) reminds you and me, “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Jesus didn’t limit His grace. We did.
We place boundaries on His grace when we protect our hearts from the hurt that may come. We regulate His grace when we tighten with anxiety and impatience to just survive whatever the holidays may bring.
We forget that His boundless grace has already covered it all.
When we recognize Christ’s gift of grace, freely given for every single one of us, then we realize too that there is responsibility that comes with such grace.
To live a life worthy of His calling. To live out His gift of grace (Ephesians 4:1b, NIV).
Christ’s grace does that. It holds you and me accountable and requires a response from us.
His grace calls out, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. [Because] There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope when you were called – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:2-6, NIV, emphasis added).
So let us make a pact to decorate our homes in grace, with humility, gentleness, and unity, with patience, peace, and love.
Let us love anyway, even if the holidays get tough. Let’s live out His gift of grace.
Because you are unconditionally loved by God himself, who gave you the gift of boundless grace.
Because His grace is more than enough to cover it all.