Advent Promises

Thursday, December 17

Out of His fullness [the superabundance of His grace and truth] we
have all received grace upon grace [spiritual blessing upon
spiritual blessing, favor upon favor, and gift heaped upon gift].
John 1:16 Amplified Version

Several years ago I was in Russia as part of a team at a Teachers Convocation. An exciting aspect of the three days was meeting with small groups of educators to share teaching methods not generally used in their teach/learn-by-rote system. We talked about question/answer methods, critical thinking exercises, role play, etc. As an exercise for the latter, we used the story of the prodigal son from Luke 15 with each group acting out the story…including the pigs!

After much laughter while watching the creative ways people interpreted the story, we examined the prodigal account in more detail and since by this time, we had been together long enough for very honest exchange of ideas and opinions, discussion flowed freely. Almost without exception, the women in my group declared—some quite vehemently—that the father didn’t demand enough from his wayward son. He should have been required to pay back the money or live in a shack far from the house or… Grace was not a concept understood or acceptable to the women who had been living under a strict regime.

In a recent extended time of meditation, I was struck by how little I rest in God’s grace and how bland is my celebration of that grace. Probing self-examination is prioritized over praise and worship. How dare I think that I am purified from ALL unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)? Can I dance before the Lord like David? Why can I follow the rules more easily than lean on Jesus like John? Why do “should” and “ought” characterize my prayers?

Dare I live just one day this Advent swimming in the ocean of grace upon grace, spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing, favor upon favor, and gift heaped upon gift? And then extend it to others? How about you?

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