I love watching my daughters on Christmas morning. As the youngest members of the family, Leah and Sydney are usually tasked with the job of pulling the presents out from under the tree and distributing them to the rest of the family. It’s an important responsibility.
I remember the first Christmas the girls did this together. They were busy grabbing presents and sorting them into different piles. After a few minutes, I realized what was happening. The girls were shoving the presents for the adults off to the side and pulling their own presents into two large piles right in front of the tree.
“Of course,” I thought, “they’re just trying to find presents for themselves. Greedy little urchins. Must take after their mother.”
I quickly realized how wrong I was.
They weren’t building their own little stash. They were trying to find the presents they had made for each other. One after another, they held out their little treasures, watching with delight as their sister received these gifts of grace.
In my brokenness, I had assumed that they must be greedily hoarding presents for themselves. Instead, they taught me about grace. There is nothing like a small child, eyes bright with excitement, wanting only to give. In that exchange, there was no merit, no earning, no shame—only the joy of giving…only grace.
Apparently they take after their mother after all.
I can easily imagine God being like that—eyes bright with excitement, unconcerned with any gifts he might receive in return, interested only in reaching into the pile of presents under the tree, drawing forth all that he wants to share with us.
That’s why Paul declares that the gospel is about “the grace of God” (Acts 20:24)—free and unmerited; we did not earn it, and we don’t deserve it. Grace is gift.
And, entrance into God’s kingdom is by grace. A gift joyously given.