Dec 1, 2016

Humility and Grace

Wednesday, November 30th was the Feast Day of Saint Andrew, brother to Saint Peter, and the first to follow Jesus as an Apostle.  In a devotional I read that morning, it described how Saint Andrew was, more or less, a behind-the scenes type of guy.  And while he may have lived an unassuming life in the background, he was always doing what he could do to bring people closer to Jesus.  How many of us can say we live in such a way?  As the devotional writer penned,  “He shows us how to be the one who is not esteemed or acclaimed, with dazzling humility and astonishing grace.”

As the month of November passed before my glossy-eyes, I gladly witnessed some much-needed gratitude and all-around appreciation on the pages of Facebook – a long-awaited transition after the antics of the recent presidential election.  It was a thing of mercy to see friends and family choosing to express their thankfulness for a full thirty days, breaking open their blessings to share with others.

Saint Andrew did the work of a servant’s hands, behind the scenes, to bring those he encountered closer to Christ.  And like those who participated in the thankfulness-challenge, many of us have also been showered with abundance.  And so I wonder…can we merge these two concepts together?  Can we weave them into the same pattern to make each other’s lives even more magnificent than we ever thought possible? 

I believe we can.

For the month of December, I want to nudge our hearts; give them an elbow-jab to the side, so to speak, in order to be seen.  Not by and for the reaction of others, but by and for the Glory of God.  {{Drastically different!}}  But how, you ask?  Here are a few ideas to embrace, if you will:

* Doorbell Dash – Drop a plate of goodies on your neighbor’s porch, ring the doorbell, and dash away as fast as you can!  Include a meaningful scripture verse on the plate so that when all the treats are gone, they’ll find another heartfelt surprise.

* Adopt an angel off a giving tree and while you’re wrapping the gift, say a prayer or two for the recipient.  And then while you’re wrapping gifts for your friends and family, rather than feeling stressed and hurried, slooow down the process and offer their name up to God for His Divine protection.

* Leave a thank you note in your mailbox for your postman, or on your front door for the UPS driver (sorry for all the Amazon packages!), letting them know that you’re asking God to keep them safe and healthy during this harried holiday season.

* Drop off a plate of healthy snacks to your hospital’s ER department, police or fire station on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, expressing how grateful you are for their dedicated service and time spent away from their families.

* Mail an anonymous card to a difficult or challenging co-worker, wishing them peace and happiness in the New Year…and mean it.

* The next time you notice an out-of-towner filling up at the gas station, or a mother with a van-load of crying little ones, or a car that looks to be struggling to make it from point A to point B, graciously pay for their tank of gas without them knowing. 

* Offer the gift of forgiveness to someone from whom you’ve been withholding it.

Sacrifice = Investment.

Friends, I could go on and on and on, but I have a feeling you get my point.  Christmas really can be about love and appreciation and giving, and pure, attention-less sacrifice.  Take a humble and gracious seat behind-the-scenes, walking the margins with those who need it the most.  I have to believe that if we approach the season in this way, it would cease to be a chore, a hassle, and a time to wish away.  For us and for others.

Saint Andrew - “He shows us how to be the one who is not esteemed or acclaimed with dazzling humility and astonishing grace.”

Dazzling humility and astonishing grace.

Gifts that won’t be found under the tree, but will sink roots deep in our hearts.