“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19-20
Christmas is a time to reflect on what’s important and express gratitude for the precious gift of God’s Son. “Peace on Earth, goodwill to men…” If this is true, why are we so angry and impatient? Between traffic and long lines to “prickly” relatives, Christmas seems to bring out the worst in people. Why is it that we all seem to be somewhere on the spectrum of insanity during the “most wonderful time of the year?” Could there be a dark spiritual campaign that ramps up every Black Friday to blur the vision of the grace God bestowed on humanity by becoming a man for the sake of our eternal salvation?
Personally, I have to admit that my focus is not on the coming Messiah during Christmas, rather, the coming company or Christmas meal that needs preparing or the gifts that need buying and wrapping and sending. Insanity is the only word for it. We all go a little crazy during the Christmas season. It is fitting, then, in our culture of out-of-control “doing,” that Christmas is followed so closely by the New Year. Around the corner it comes with optimistic newness, forgiveness, if you will, for our December sins.
Because of this, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is my favorite week of the year. Everything stops (except for basketball which is one more reason empty nesting is awesome). There is time to rest, reflect and look ahead to a brand new year, God willing. Instead of angry and impatient we feel optimistic and hopeful. This is crazy grace. The fact is, God not only sees us through our imbalanced, imperfect celebration of His Son’s birth, but also showers us with forgiveness and hope. His love keeps us from being consumed by our fears, insecurities, failures and, yes, insanity.
In short, Lamentations 3:23 says, “His compassions never fail.” His compassions (plural) never (that means never, ever) fail. The word “compassions” reflects God’s heart for us in a powerful way. It means God has the same affection for you and me that a pregnant mother has for the baby in her womb, “as cherishing the fetus.” Regardless of our insanity level His grace is crazier still. We can’t out-give God and we certainly can’t out “crazy” Him. But for the grace of God we would all perish.
“Yet this I call to mind, therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”