For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
Now that our kids are young adults, Glen and I are relieved of daily parenting duties. One and his spouse live out of state. The other, though local, is nearly invisible. That doesn’t mean that we don’t disagree about parenting. One of Glen’s biggest complaints is that I “take the kids’ side” when he is upset with them. Whenever he gets mad for some slight, perceived or real, I point out the other side. I am not talking about failing to hold them accountable for their choices or bailing them out before they can learn from their mistakes. I am simply talking about disagreements that arise from miscommunication on the degree of importance or need for assistance. If they don’t know, they can’t choose wisely, I argue. We didn’t raise mind readers, after all. While Glen thinks I band with them against him, I see it as understanding both sides and choosing the side of grace. Yesterday, Glen blew it. Big time. He picked up the hams and turkey we needed for Christmas and left them in the car for twenty-four hours remembering way too late to rescue them. His mistake required me to alter my plans and go to the store to purchase the meat for a second time. All the way there, I was angry. Or at least I wanted to be angry. I wanted to rail about the cost of the duplicate purchase, particularly when he frequently reminds me of my unwise spending habits. I wanted to rub it into his face and make sure all our family knew of his carelessness. Maybe I could even gain some power by reminding him over and over of how stupid he was. But, the same grace that I give to our kids came to his rescue. He had a lot on his mind yesterday. Some serious decisions and problems. I might have forgotten, too. Or I could have at least asked him if he put the meat in the refrigerator instead of assuming that it was in the garage fridge. When I called to tell Glen I picked up a new ham and more turkey, he apologized profusely. “It was really stupid”, he said. “We don’t have that kind of money to waste,” he said. In response, I reminded him of how many times we have argued that I was taking sides. “In reality, I was only extending grace,” I said. “And now, I chose to extend that same grace to you.” I think he +finally understands. Most of us can’t truly comprehend grace until it is extended to us. When we experience the gift, undeserved, yet still extended, and we accept that gift, given with no expectations, we can finally let go of our guilt and efforts to earn that grace. Christ was a gift. He came to save us from our sins, not because we deserved it but because He loves us. Accept the gift. Extend the grace. That is how we can truly celebrate His birth.