hospitable grace.

I’ve written it before, but so much of our time here calls upon the grace of God – certainly on our behalf as well as for others. We attempt to find ourselves where God is inviting others to know His gracious and Holy Love. But we also find ourselves receiving His grace through others as well.

Recently, it came as a great and important reminder of what grace looks like as we celebrate Christ’s Mass. Grace looks like the one who isn’t required – reaching out to those who would not know it otherwise. Grace looks like someone who could simply keep living and relating as they already are and be justified – pausing to inconvenience themselves in a way that communicates welcome and value.

Certainly many of us have heard the story of the “Good Samaritan”. It doesn’t take much for us to agree – someone who wants to be a good neighbor would stop and care for the beaten foreign man laying on the ground. But what if the situation was a modified a bit?

What if, instead of a beaten foreigner laying on the ground – it’s simply a foreigner? What if it’s not a “life or death” situation, but simply noticing the opportunity to show grace and welcome to someone unlike ourselves?

I’ll have to step off the “parable” train here, to simply tell you what happened.

When you live in a country that doesn’t sell whole turkeys often, you find yourself being connected to a “turkey guy”. Think of an Italian (or in this case, Hungarian) mobster saying, “I know a guy.” That’s him. We know him through our missionary friends, the McNamara’s here. He had practiced a few words of English so that he could communicate with me over the phone. Our friends had told us ahead of time, that he would be calling, and had practiced his English – so we were able to record a bit of it.

It was a simple, fun moment. A coming together of cultures. But it gave a great illustration, of what the grace of God looks like. The One who didn’t have the “need” (God) submitting Himself to being inconvenienced, becoming human, and even to the point of death.

Our “turkey guy” would certainly have sold a turkey to us, without having to humble himself by attempting to speak English. But he was communicating welcome, and affirming us in such a moment. On a much more grand, cosmic and redemptive scale – God would have certainly been fine without humbling himself in such a way – but the Love revealed in the arrival of the infant Jesus Christ…wow. May we be overwhelmed by His Love.

But more importantly – may we not become proud keeping watch only for the beaten strangers in our path. May we also anticipate and seek opportunities, aware of how the grace of God may be communicated through us in small ways each day…not neurotically, afraid to miss out….but motivated by the chance to join His Love.

The Love of a child who wants to give something to a Father who has lavished His Love already on our behalf in ways we could never echo…yet we never give up trying. Merry Christmas. 🙂

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