In a bygone era, elementary school children learned all about safety at railroad crossings. They were taught to “Stop. Look. Listen.” Before crossing railroad tracks on foot or with their bikes and scooters, kids would stop, look, and listen. As we approach the celebration of Christmas, those words can be helpful for us as God’s people, too!
In all the busyness, in all the frenzy, in all the hectic activity that floods into the Christmas season year by year, our Lord invites us to stop. He invites us to look. He invites us to listen. And as we do that, he invites us to savor all his many blessings, particularly those blessings he has graciously given us in Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Getting to the Heart
To savor God’s grace toward us, we first need to stop. We need to pause. We need to take a deep breath. Then, in the stillness, we remember what God’s grace is all about. We remember the undeserved love of our heavenly Father—the love he has shown to us! To each of us personally! We recall the surprising, the astonishing, the amazing love he poured out on that very first Christmas. Just think of it!
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. (1 Timothy 1:15 ESV, emphasis added)
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10 ESV, emphasis added)
To us a child is born, to us a son is given; and . . . his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 ESV, emphasis added)
Stop. Allow that peace to seep into your heart. Realize in a fuller way what the grace of God means for you. Savor it!
Now, imagine yourself sitting with the shepherds on the hillside outside Bethlehem on that very first Christmas night. Imagine the skies splitting open and the holy angels descending from heaven! What a sight! Then see yourself a little later, walking through the darkness and into the village to see the wonder those angels had announced. Imagine seeing the soft light flowing out from the stable door. Imagine kneeling in the prickly, yellow straw. Imagine your heart bursting with awe as you see him! As you see the Baby, the eternal Son of God, your Savior, lying there in the manger! Has there ever, ever been a more glorious, a more wonder-filled sight!? This is the Christmas Gift of all time! This is grace, God’s gift of love to you, wrapped in swaddling clothes. Look! Savor it!
We stop, pausing here before the manger. We look, considering what that first Christmas night may have been like. But no matter how hard we try, our ability to understand it all fails us. Our ability to grasp the amazing grace of God fails. Here is a mystery too deep for words. Here is a love beyond all human understanding. Here is a grace we will never fully grasp.
The Christmas angels summed it up for the shepherds—and for us:
Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10–11 ESV, emphasis added)
A Savior. Christ. The Lord. For you. Savor those words. Savor that grace. It is for you! This Savior came for you! By faith in that Savior, your sin is gone. Your guilt is gone. Your shame is gone. All of it—all of it—dissolved in the light of his manger, the grace of his cross. Savor it!
Taking It Home
There’s a lot to savor at Christmastime. Beautiful packages with glittering bows. Delicious desserts. The love of families and friends. Parties and pageants. The music. The fun. The laughter. Savor it all!
But in all the joys of the season, I pray that most of all you will pause to savor the grace of God toward you in Christ Jesus. May that grace strengthen you, bringing you deep and lasting peace:
Be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 2:1 ESV)
Editor’s note: Today’s devotion is slightly adapted from the Ministry Message for the Savoring Grace line of products.
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Editor’s note: To savor God's grace toward us, we first need to stop. We need to pause. We need to take a deep breath. Then, in the stillness, we remember what God's grace is all about. We remember the undeserved love of our heavenly Father--the love he has shown to us!