Katelynn Hardee is a kindergartner in Vista, California. She is also a hero to 123 students at her elementary school.
Katelynn overheard a parent say she was having difficulty paying for an after-school program. Her mother explained that “sometimes people aren’t as fortunate and that we need to try to be kind and give when we can.”
So Katelynn decided to set up a stand to sell hot cocoa, cider, and cookies. She donated the money she collected, which went toward paying off the negative lunch balances of students at her school. As a result, according to the school’s principal, “other students are already talking about ways they can also make a difference.”
This Christmas week, we’re asking what Christmas can teach our post-Christian culture about Christ. On Monday, we focused on the power of Christmas; yesterday, we considered the humility of Christmas. Today we’ll explore the grace of Christmas.
If a child can change the world, anyone can change the world. Our past is no barrier to God’s future. How we begin the race is not as important as how we finish.
What in your past bothers you today? What guilt or burdens are on your heart? Let’s find God’s Christmas grace wherever we need his grace the most.
Why the Army–Navy game is so unique
The book of Revelation describes Jesus as “the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world” (13:8 NIV). 1 Peter 1 points to “the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (v. 19) and says that “he was foreknown before the foundation of the world” (v. 20).
In other words, before God made the world, his Son was already a sacrificial lamb for the sins of the world.
Romans 5:8 makes this fact plain: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” “While we were still sinners”—before we had done one thing to earn God’s forgiveness, Jesus died for us.
Here’s the point to understand: Jesus chose to die for you before you committed your first sin. He knew your forgiveness would cost him his life, but he chose to create you anyway. And every other person in human history with you.
There is nothing we can do to earn such love because it was decided before we even existed. His redeeming grace is like a house you build for your grandchildren before your children are born. It is like a soldier who dies for a country that does not yet exist but his death helps create.
Would you have a second child if you knew that child would murder your first child? We are God’s second children. And he chose to make us, and his first child chose to die for us, anyway.
Two weeks ago, Navy defeated Army in their annual football game. But the significance of the game is less about the score than about the commitment of those on the field to their mission. Clint Bruce, a former Navy Seal and friend of mine, once said that Army–Navy is “the only game in the world where every person on the field is willing to die for every person in the stands.”
Such sacrificial love is the grace of Christmas.
“Now you’re mine twice”
Where do you need this grace the most today? Name your need and claim the Christmas grace of your loving Lord.
Who do you know who needs such Christmas grace from you? Who needs your forgiveness as you have needed the forgiveness of God? Who needs your love as you have needed God’s love? How can you pay forward what you have received?
One of the first stories I remember hearing in a sermon was about a boy who built a red model sailboat. He worked on it for days until it was just right. Then he took it down to the creek behind his house to sail it.
Unfortunately, when the wind caught its sails, the string attached to it broke. The boy had to watch his red boat sail down the creek and out of sight. He was heartbroken.
Days later, he happened to walk by a secondhand store and saw his sailboat in the window! He ran inside and told the man at the counter, “That’s my boat in your window. I made it and it’s mine.”
The man said, “Son, I paid someone for that boat. If you want it back, you’ll have to pay for it.”
The boy was angry but determined.
He worked every job he could find until finally he put together enough money to buy back his boat. It was a joyful day when he marched into the store, put his money on the counter, and took his boat from the window.
As the boy carried his red sailboat home, he said to it: “Now you’re mine twice. I made you the first time, and I bought you the second.”
This is the grace of Christmas.