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[Grace] "now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesu s, who abolished death

and brought life and immortality to light through the gos pel" (2 Tim 1:10). My family's past Christmases taught me two lessons I will be teaching to my girl s. Christmas is about anticipation and Christmas is about grace. We didn't do Santa growing up. But Christmas was still powerful. I remember bein g excited as I died inside waiting for the day to come. I drank the egg nog and read the Christmas books and stared at the glowing colors on the tree, counting presents and the hours until we'd open them. This anticipation reflects the righ t heart behind Christmas. Anticipation Our world held its breath for the coming of Jesus because he was the promised on e, the Rescuer who would pull us out of our mess, the King who would bring justi ce. Jesus came in the fullness of time, hundreds and hundreds of years after promise s were made. Many faithful Jews died in hope, looking to the day God would rescu e his people. I love watching children crawl inside as they struggle to hold ba ck from tearing into their gifts. The people of God peeled their eyes, waiting f or someone to come. God gave us the gift of his only Son. No one noticed except the smelly, low-life scum shepherds. No one noticed that t his baby, swaddled in the eating trough, was the Son of God, prince of heaven, a nd the one who would save. Grace God doesn't arrive the way we think he would and he doesn't work as we think he should. No trumpets, no palace, no glamor. Born to a poor family, born in a stab le. I've wondered why we love to give gifts. If honest, some of us merely feel oblig ated since if we don't give, we may be thought of as stingy or rude. Beyond repu tation protection, Christmas is about the generosity of the Lord of the cosmos. He sent his one and only Son... freely. The way he came is the way he works - un expectedly and not according to human wisdom. God is a giving God, one who pours on kindness after kindness for people who exp ect the oxygen to be there when they take that breath, expecting to live tomorro w and enjoy good food. We take the kindness for granted and trample on grace. Th at's what giving gifts and saying thanks warns us. What excites you? What would our kids and family and friends say excites us? Wha t gift are we anticipating the most this year? Did Jesus make your list? Christi an, have you given him to others in your generosity and love? Have you given him to others, 'Christ clothed in the gospel'? He's better than all we desire and God actually wants us to have all of him... f or free. No good deeds. No charity work. No pay-back. There is no such thing as 'good little boys and girls'. Only bad mommies, bad daddies, bad little boys and girls and a whole lot of relentless, shocking, undeserved grace.