Since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:23-24)

I overheard this statement today: “With the holidays coming up, I know everyone is extra stressed right now.”

This statement makes me sad. But this statement is also true. The holidays are stressful. Why just this past weekend, I finally got my Christmas lights up. In my sermon on Sunday I lamented my houses lack of cheer. But Sunday afternoon I got up on the ladder and strung lights all around the gutter of my house. In years past I’ve just done the front. But this year I decided to go the whole way around our house. A good year for extra cheer.

I bought new bulbs. I bought new strands. I tested all of them. I got to work. A couple of hours later they were all up, and I went to plug them in. They lit for a second and then zap. The fuse on the lights blew. Five fuses later and as nighttime falls on Monday evening, my house is still wrapped in darkness.

Whether its from Christmas decorations, or trying to plan or not plan events with family, to buying presents, the holidays do come with their own stresses. So, this year, have a little grace. There will be a time this year when from any number of Christmas or broader world over issues you will feel stressed.

But grace, that amazing “G” word that stands at the heart of our faith, reminds us that we are not the sum of our accomplishments. We are not loved by God by what we do or do not do. We all fall short. We all have our burned-out lights moments. But through Jesus Christ—yes that same Jesus whose birth we celebrate this and every Christmas—we are loved just because we are who we are.

Peace in Christ,

Pr. Dan Joyner Miller