For those who celebrate Christmas, we come across Mary’s story in our advent, and we pause. We ask questions of, “Why her?” or “How could she be so obedient?” I’ve often believed that her obedience came from a simple place, but also that God was gracious enough to not only place the Messiah in her womb, but to also provide within her the emotional capacity to endure the questioning, hardship, and the unknown.
All is grace. These three little words from my book, One Thousand Gifts, I have said over and over again in my heart and announced aloud when necessary.
My advent book, In the Manger, shared that Mary did nothing to resist or assist God. She didn’t say, “I’m too busy.” or “I’m not good enough.” She didn’t try to give God ideas on how to handle her future husband, or complain about the fact that “If I’m carrying God around, could you at least……” You know, special favors if I’m being faithful.
As ridiculous as this sounds, we are on the other side of the story, and we often try to make the stories magical instead of understanding, as much as possible, how the situation really was for her.
All is grace. Mary’s story is all about grace. As Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20, “It is no longer I who lives, but Christ lives in me.”
We celebrate Christmas because Emmanuel, God with us, dwells in us. With this indwelling, we wrestle moment to moment, day to day, a lifetime trying not to assist or resist the sovereignty of God. With open hands and hearts we desire to be like Mary and say, “Let it be to me according to your Word.” Luke 1:38
What has God given to you that is “according to His Word”, and you need to embrace “all is grace”?
A husband or wife?
A major adjustment in an area of your life that seems overwhelming?
A new day?
This day recognize the indwelling of His love in you. Fill up, and pour out. And, when the world and worries invade, see it as grace. God’s grace never leaves you. And please don’t have the picture in your mind to be perfect. A saint walking around blessing others. In our human state we stumble and get back up again. That is grace. We lay in bed at night after a long day and question with tears running down our face. That is grace. We treasure a moment that sheds light, or captures the Glory of God. That is grace. Grace is in each moment.
My sweet grand-daughter pointed to a broken vase in my garden. “What’s that Gigi?” We were sitting in the garden as a family reading our advent book. I told her that Gigi loves broken things, because it reminds me of my brokenness. “You not broken, Gigi!”
I laughed with her, and then said, “Yes, I’m broken.” “We all are broken.” We have a Savior that offers us grace in our brokenness, and because He forgives and loves, we forgive and love. I gave her childlike examples to help her understand.
(Listen to my youngest share from our study.)
The funny thing about grace is that you can’t stockpile enough to handle your future, and you can’t look back with regret and try to force grace in the past. Grace is alive and active and found in the now. Just like Mary, in her everyday coming and going, God showed up in that moment and filled the moment with grace.
We can look back to learn and evaluate to change. We can plan ahead to make sure our resources are available. The greatest challenge is living now. Now means that we connect, accept, embrace, and love. Now means I can’t imagine something different. I accept what it is right now. Now means I can set healthy boundaries instead of numbing myself with regret and ignoring.
Now is all grace. Try to see it all as grace without putting events, people, and situations into categories.
Oh Lord, live in me. May your love beat in and through my heart. May you speak through my voice. Jesus, be the strength of my soul and the fire that purges wrongs from my desires. Fill me with your great abounding grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen
(Max Lucado, In the Manger, pg. 33)
If you have time to listen to this song, sing/say the words as a prayer for your life.