Even in hard times, we can rejoice in the grace of God. ~~~ Have you ever felt like Charlie Brown? In the animated classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas, there’s a scene where Charlie Brown takes his little tree and he’s going to try to decorate it. He puts one red ornament on it and the whole thing droops to the ground. He says these words, “I’ve killed it. Everything I touch gets ruined.” With his head hanging low, he walks away in defeat. This is what I relate to. The spirit of defeat. I start the day determined to walk in the spirit, choose joy, see the glass half full and make something beautiful of each new day, no matter what may come, only then at some point to be derailed and disappointed. I messed it up. I didn’t get it all done. I dropped a ball. The plates that were spinning so great, all fell to the ground and shattered. If you’re feeling a little like Charlie Brown today, like everything around you is falling apart and your head is hanging low in defeat, I’ve got a gift you need to unwrap. It’s the gift of grace. God offers it to us every single day, but sadly it gets pushed aside and forgotten or not even opened at all. When we unwrap and receive the gift of grace, all the mess ups, defeats and what seem to be ruined and shattered places of our life, are met with undeserved favor and mercy. The result is something new. IN Christ, old things are passed away and all things are made new. (2 Corinthians 5:17) This gift of grace begins with faith in Jesus. Ephesians 2:8-9 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. You don’t do one thing to save yourself. Salvation and forgiveness of sin comes through faith in Jesus and THAT is only by HIS grace. This gift of grace is what brings rest to my weary and defeated soul because I know the BEST I can do when it comes to this life will ALWAYS fall short. (Romans 3:23) That’s why we need Jesus. He did what we could not do. (Romans 8:3) He lived a perfect, sinless life and then gave his life for yours and mine. (1 John 3:16) God’s grace is a gift that keeps on giving. His mercy and faithfulness to us is new every morning. (Lamentations 2:22-23) I can trust that whatever this day holds, God is with me. Where I am weak, His grace and strength will meet me in that place and will be SUFFICIENT for me. (2 Corinthians 12:9) I’ve been on the receiving end of this grace for years, but this year, after losing my Dad, I’ve experienced it on an even deeper level. That’s the thing about grace, it carries you even when you don’t even realize you’re being carried. It’s God’s love for me, not only meeting me in every moment of my need, but strengthening me as well for the journey. This is why a weary world can rejoice! My weary heart that is heavy from falling short and at times like Charlie Brown, feeling like everything I touch gets ruined, can find REST in the arms of my savior. That’s the truth. Unwrap the gift of grace. It’s the good news of Jesus meeting us right where we are and it really IS what Christmas is all about. I’m Lori Cline.