Amy Grant recorded "My Grown-up Christmas List" for her "Home For Christmas" album. The lyrics imagine an adult going back to Santa with a different perspective on what matters most in life. Instead of material things the writer now asks for good things for others. I love the sentiment of the song.
No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
Everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown-up Christmas list
I thought about my "grown-up" Christmas list this week.
I would love for all of the things in the lyric above to come true. But I have lived enough to know they will not. Everyday lives are torn apart. Wars start too frequently. Time does not heal every heart. Some who are reading this are lonely. Right seems to lose way too often and love ends for many.
So what could I wish for that would be available for all? My grown-up Christmas list would have one simple wish. That every person would truly understand the outrageous grace gift that God offers to each one of us. All we have to do is open that gift in faith. Christmas is when the gift came to earth wrapped in swaddling clothes.
I wish that everyone who hears the Gospel message would comprehend the one way love that God demonstrated. Instead of turning His back on sinners who deserved just that God chose to reach out to His creation with a radical plan for forgiveness. A plan that is unlike any other religion in history. Man made religion always demands something to earn salvation. God's plan for redemption requires the lost to bring nothing to the table other than their sin and the need for salvation. Nothing.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. (Ephesians 2:8-9, NLT)
Not a single requirement other than believing. A gift of grace. Grace that is so vast and inexhaustible that no sin or sinner can exceed the scope of this amazing grace to cover their sin and redeem them. I coined an acronym for grace that only partially captures the enormity of God's love.
God's Radical And Complete Embrace.
God initiates salvation. The plan is so radical that it feels otherworldly. Salvation is complete and God's embrace shows His desire to know us as His beloved children.
I wish that everyone who believes the Gospel would truly believe that they are a brand new creation. Recreated as a saint with complete freedom in Christ. Adopted as a child of God. Forgiven forever. And that all of those things are completely true because of Jesus.
I wish I could give those things to everyone on my list. Life will give us sadness, loss and loneliness but trust in Jesus gives us hope in the darkest storm. It started with the baby we celebrate today.