Grace and Peace
This is the way that the Apostle Paul signs off more than one of his letters: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
These two words capture the Christmas hope. The hope of the world. Grace first. This is God’s Riches at Christ's Expense. The good things of God, paid for and made into a gift - an inheritance - beyond compare.
This is not simply about religion, this is about life, politics, business and eternity. God is calling you into his family life. However much you have tasted and seen so far, there is more, unimaginably more, but this is not for the lukewarm. It is not for the petit-religous, those who would do whatever is the minimum: just come to church, just pray once a day or any other ‘just’.
This is God's invitation, to a wedding banquet, and he expects us to come dressed for the occasion. These kind of clothes are expensive. They will cost us everything we have.
Obviously, I’m not talking about the work of fashion designers or seamstresses here. Instead, we are talking about clothing ourselves with Christ. Putting on Christ. His way of doing things. His approach to life. This is what it means to be in Christ.
This should make us afraid. Yes, afraid. But what about what I did last week? We should ask ourselves. What about what I said yesterday? What about what I thought today? How can I be clothed with Christ, if this is how I live?
And this is where the peace, the shalom of God comes in. We do not receive Christ because we are good enough. Amazingly (and wonderfully) we do not go on with Christ because we are good enough. It is all by Grace. We live precariously, in and out of grace. Fearing God, and knowing his forgiveness. The steadying, transforming presence of God, is what changes us from being tossed about like a wave on the sea, to knowing that it is all about him. Everything. All that I need. All that I can be: it is all about him. The is the peace of Christmas, this is the peace on earth (to all on whom his favour rests). If you want this peace, to enter into the Grace of God, come and join us this Christmas time.
with love in Christ Tim