Life as gift

Written by on December 19, 2012

I am reminded again this December through the person of Jesus Christ that life is fundamentally gift. The incarnation as theologians put it; or more simply said, “When God gives a gift, he wraps it in the form of a person” (William Lane). God’s grace comes to us freely and abundantly in a person, a person who was born and grew and lived, a person with a face that we could have stared at and look into if we lived in first century Galilee; we could have bumped into Jesus and conversed and eaten with him. I pray that amidst the hurry and flurry of your December activities that you may take time for remembering, reflecting, and celebrating God’s grace wonderfully expressed in the person of Jesus.

Earlier this morning I re-read a portion of a book by Frederick Buechner that poked at my understanding, or my way of making sense, of my life as gift or grace. I share this paragraph as a sort of invitation or catalyst for you to consider within the nitty-gritty of your own story, like Buechner does here, how your whole life is fundamentally gift. Buechner writes,

I entered Union Theological Seminary in the fall of 1954. If anyone had told me as little as a year or so earlier that I was going to do such a thing, I would have been no less surprised than if I had been told I was going to enter the Indianapolis 500. The preceding year I had become in some sense a Christian, though the chances are I would have hesitated to put it like that, and I find something in that way of expressing it which even now makes me uncomfortable. “To become a Christian” sounds like an achievement, like becoming a millionaire. I thought it rather, and think of it still, more as a lucky break, a step in the right direction. Though I was brought up in a family where church played virtually no role at all, through a series of events from childhood on I was moved, for the most part without any inkling of it, closer and closer to a feeling for that Mystery out of which the church arose in the first place until, finally, the Mystery itself came to have a face for me, and the face it came to have for me was the face of Christ. It was a slow, obscure process…and the result of it was that I ended up being so moved by what I felt that I found it inadequate simply to keep it inside myself like a secret but had to do something about it.” (Now & Then: A Memoir of Vocation, 4-5).

May you pause and look around your own life to discover the ways God’s Spirit is reminding you and assuring you again in Jesus of God’s deep love for this world, for your community, and for you in particular. Blessings this Advent and Christmas season…


• Over the past year, how has the Spirit been reminding you and assuring you of God’s gracious love?

• What elements of your everyday life are working against you embracing an understanding of life as grace and gift from God?


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