“Grace and Peace”
This simple greeting from Titus and 1 Peter is one of my favorites to share with others, especially this time of the year. As many churches light the candles of the Advent wreath during the four Sundays before Christmas, a good number of them will lift up the gift of peace given to us by the Prince of Peace, Jesus. That doesn’t mean peace comes easy or without cost. That’s where grace comes in.
It is hard for us to respond in peace without a sense of God’s grace. By finding forgiveness for ourselves in God’s love and grace, we understand that others make mistakes and deserve grace as well. Even when we hold one another accountable for mistakes and sins, grace (in the form of forgiveness) is at the heart of possible reconciliation. As we learn to forgive and offer grace, we begin to be able to trust in the best of intentions of others, and minor hurts and slights are less likely to continue to create conflict and problems.
By relying upon grace (as an unmerited gift), we can strengthen the sense of peace that comes from the assurance of God’s abundant blessings. When we begin to understand just how blessed we are, we begin to be able to trust in God’s care and concern for us. We also begin to understand our responsibility to share those gifts with others.
Whether we share with our churches, places of worship, or other non-profit agencies from our financial blessings, or work within our communities to share more intangible gifts like the freedom to vote, fair and equal housing policies, or opportunities to advance our careers and financial standing; from those who are given much, much is expected.
So, to you and your family, I hope and pray for “Grace and Peace.” These two gifts have the power to change our lives and our communities.