A recent book titled Traffic studies a problem you may experience if you take a trip by car during this season. I certainly have experienced it, and I hate it when it happens.
You’re driving on a beautiful four-lane highway. Life is good. Then you see a road sign that reads like this: “Left lane closed. Merge right.” If you’re not an overly aggressive driver who doesn’t mind road rage, you are a faced with a big decision. Do you get in the right lane now and then watch cars whiz past you, putting you farther behind? Or do you get in the left lane and pass a few more cars that have already merged right? What if you keep passing cars until you realize the traffic in the right lane has stacked up so tightly that there’s no space left for your car unless you engage in demolition derby tactics? What if you then repent, looking mournfully into the faces of the other drivers for one kind soul who will let you in even though you have done a grievous wrong and you know it?
At that point, what you need is grace.
Paul speaks of grace in an infinitely deeper sense in this Scripture text. As you read it, notice how often the word “grace” appears, and if not the word itself, the idea. The whole passage is about God’s grace, with the emphasis on how God had graciously blessed the Corinthian Christians.
The season of Advent and Christmas is a season of grace, beginning with “the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 1:4, nrsv). We truly experience and celebrate this season only by the grace of God.
God’s grace—who needs it? Only anyone who has gone astray from God’s purposes and needs help coming home to God. That’s all of us. The good news of this season is that God’s grace is readily available. Let us open ourselves to God’s grace that God so graciously offers.
Lord, we thank you for your grace, grace that is revealed so clearly in the gift of your Son.