I never do this, but I did this once. (Actually, I really liked the convenience so it is highly likely I will do it again!)
The song on the radio had this fantastic phrasing and I had to purchase this song.
It made me late to pick up my middle daughter from her friend’s sleepover, but I opened up iTunes and and bought Tauren Wells’ song, “Known.”
The line I couldn’t get over is in the chorus: “It’s not one or the other. It’s hard truth and ridiculous grace.”
Neither the song or the phrase are “Christmasy.” There’s no mention of Jesus’ birth or a star or wise man or anything – but this Christmas this song and this phrase is at the center of my worship.
To prepare for Advent this year I have been reading through Paul David Tripp’s Advent devotional.
Around the time I heard the song, I had read one of the devotional. The song and the devotion combined have transformed my holiday focus and, as a result, how I am approaching everything Christmas this year.
The gist behind the specific devotional had everything to do with receiving news…
Most of the time, when given the option, people would rather have the bad news before the good news. We hope the good news will out weigh the bad news, or at least help us feel better about the bad news.
Good news is only relative to the recipient as good if their situation deems it so. For example, for Bill Gates, stumbling upon a $20 bill is no big deal, but to me, my day’s been made! And a new medical breakthrough might be considered newsworthy to most but it is only truly good news to those that the advancement will help and heal.
Tripp contends that the Good News of the manger can only be appreciated as “good” when we stop to consider the bad news that deems it necessary. Yes, God sent us the gift of Jesus because He loves us, but it is the bad news of our sin and its consequences that makes Jesus’ birth a requirement.
This is “hard truth.”
We are separated from our Creator. We are unable to fulfill the reason for our creation and live the way we were made to live . We are delusional, fully believing that we are self-sufficient with no need of God. We are under God’s holy judgment, deserving of death. We are hopeless, seeing and knowing that we and the world we live in is broken and that we have no way to fix it.
This “hard truth” is indeed “bad news.”
Ephesians 2:4 starts with one of my favorite phrases in the Bible, “But God…” This is where the “good news” that the angel told the scared shepherds comes in. This is where the song has everything to do with Christmas!
Through the gift God gave us in Jesus we receive “ridiculous grace.”
Let’s look at the grace part first. Through Jesus we are given what we don’t deserve – that is the very definition of grace.
We now have unity with God and fellowship with our Creator. We are enabled to live as He created us to live, loving Him and our neighbor with all our heart and soul and mind. We have been given the truth and the truth as set us free. We are now alive in Christ, no longer facing death. We have hope because we understand what God has provided.
Now, take a minute to reflect on how “ridiculous” that this grace is . . . That God would send His Son, who willingly humbled Himself to be born of His creation as a helpless, completely dependent baby to grow up and one day allow Himself to die in my place IS ridiculous!
This “ridiculous grace” is indeed “good news.”
The angels called it “good news of great joy” in Luke 2. Reflecting on the truth and depth of this “good news” has transformed my holiday season. It has become more spiritual this year and less stressful. As I have contemplated this “hard truth and ridiculous grace” everything else -all the stresses and challenges. at work and at home- have assumed their proper subordinate positions in my priorities. My perspective has altered and the joy of the season isn’t in my family or my service to others or my expectations of what I think Christmas should look like.
My joy this Christmas is in the real Reason for the season. This year, that truly isn’t a lip service or a rote, #thisiswhatimsupposedtosay response. This Christmas my worship and celebration is motivated by “hard truth and ridiculous grace.”
What’s motivating your Christmas this year?
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