Sometimes I feel like the worst “one for you, one for me” Christmas shopper ever! I get home and there are a number of small items for me mixed in with my gifts for other people. Nothing big and nothing on my Christmas list, of course. But if it’s something I need and it’s on sale, Merry Christmas to me!
Another “Greatest Gift”
There is a gift that is perfect for the “one for you, one for me” shopper. Just like the gift of forgiveness that we talked about previously, it is the gift of Grace. Grace for you, grace for me.
The dictionary gives one of the definitions of grace as “free and unmerited favor.” I also think of it as giving someone space. Space to make a mistake, space to fail, space to be human. Which means, grace is definitely something we need to give ourselves as well as others.
One for You…
This is a great season to extend grace. There’s plenty of opportunities: grace to “that … person” in the parking lot who doesn’t know how to drive, grace to the one who is taking forever at the checkout ahead of you in line, grace to the mother with the screaming toddler when you’re making your last run to the grocery store. We need to give lots of grace to anyone working retail during this busy season. They just want to get home to their families too. Instead of looking irritated in these situations, a smile and “Merry Christmas” can go a long way.
The holidays often mean time with extended family. This is a great time to give more grace. So maybe the relatives have the same political argument every year. Grace to be who they are. Maybe there’s someone who always finds a way to undermine your parenting or insults your cooking. More grace.
One for Me…
But then, do we extend any grace to ourselves? This strikes at the heart of the perfectionist, let me tell you. Grace to not be perfect. Grace to admit we made a mistake (because we are not perfect) and to not keep going over and over it in our head, but to let it go. Grace to not get everything done we have dreamed of doing this Christmas. Grace to let go of past regrets.
Giving ourselves some grace will bring us another gift: peace. When we can let go of some things and give some grace, some space, we will feel relief.
Grace Brings Peace
When we give grace to other people and stop expecting them to act differently than they do, we will have less frustration and anger inside. We will find peace in that moment when we decide to give them grace. Maybe we should try giving them our favor instead of our disapproval. In our hearts and minds, let’s give them grace. Grace for you. Grace for me.
Let’s keep giving the greatest gifts this Christmas season.
To whom can you extend the gift of grace to this Christmas? In what way do you need to give grace to yourself?