During the holiday season, I often hear promos on the radio or television soliciting donations of toys, clothing or money to benefit “deserving” families. People will call me every year to ask our church to help an individual or a family at Christmas, and when they do, they will almost always add: “I believe these are the type of people who ‘deserve’ our gifts.”
When the love of God compelled God to give the gift of God’s self to the world, I am thankful God did not limit the gift of Christ to only those who “deserve” such a gift. It was while we were yet sinners, yet undeserving, that God revealed God’s unconditional love to us.
I recently visited a young man in the hospital. He suffered a stroke a few months ago and was being treated for an infection around his heart. It was obvious that he was experiencing both pain and fear. Yet, when I asked him how he was doing, he replied: “Well pastor, I am alive. So, I am doing better than I deserve.”
Aren’t we all? For who on earth did anything to “deserve” the gift of life?
This holiday season let us share our gifts freely, without restrictions, without conditions. Let us love our neighbors as we have been loved by God.
And this Thanksgiving, let us be grateful for grace, because if we are alive, we are doing better than we deserve.