Grace for the Challenges of Our 2020 Christmas

“The time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” Luke 2:6-7

Lord Jesus, your birthing experience often wrongly gets turned into an opportunity to shame an inhospitable inn-keeper—who isn’t mentioned anywhere in the Bible. Or it’s used as a moral imperative, urging us to make room in our hearts for you.

But we don’t make room for you, Lord Jesus. You make room for us. From (your) fullness we have all received, grace upon grace (John 1:16). Indeed, as Paul stated, you are the one who “fills all things everywhere” (Eph. 1:23). The Gospel is your glorious, grace-full welcome to us… Hallelujah!

But, perhaps, this is the year to draw encouragement from the less-than-ideal circumstances of your birth. Today, my own state of Tennessee begins a 30-day stay-at-home admonition from our Governor. My dear friends in the UK are presently under much greater COVID-stress and restrictions.

Here’s our prayer, Lord Jesus. You specialize in broken stories, messy situations, and giving “grace for the moment” (Heb. 4:16). Of course, we long for the day of no-more-virus; even more so, the Day of your return. Until both, grant us grace to live and love to your glory. Wisdom, safety, and neighbor-love are the order of this day.

Jesus, you also specialize in redemptive surprises, and doing beyond all we can ask or imagine. In ways, perhaps we can’t imagine, make this Christmas one of the most treasured ones, ever—a feast of grace, a celebration of kindness, creative loving for each other; not just daily, but moment by moment mercy. VERY amen, we pray, in your tender and triumphant name.