* Please welcome our co-leader, Bethany Grove. Thanks for writing today’s post, Bethany!

There is a group of people I see everywhere I go.

I know I will see at least one of them when I’m out and about, checking items off my “to do” list, traveling from store to store.

They stand on street corners, holding cardboard signs with messages like “Homeless and hungry” and “Unemployed, Need Help.

But the sign I see the most is “Will work for food.” They are homeless. They are hungry.

They are so often forgotten and shoved aside.

And they’re in every community.

My city isn’t a big one but it’s big enough to have roughly 100 homeless residents.

When I see them on the corners, I feel a nudge saying “Hey, you can help,” but then something stops me.

The small voice changes tune and then sends questions bouncing around like:

Are they too lazy to get and keep a job?

Are they in this position because they’re addicted to drugs?

Are they alcoholics?

Eventually, with enough doubt and questions, I convince myself to keep driving . . .  so I do.

What could possibly keep me from helping those in need?

As much as I hate to admit it . . .  pride.

Pride makes me believe the lie that I’m better than they are, that I’m entitled to what I have and they are not. Pride fuels the belief that isn’t necessarily true –  they can do better if they just want it bad enough.

I sin just like everyone else and this is something God’s been convicting me of lately. I am working on humility and giving others grace – as God has given me.

I must admit . . . This is a difficult confession to make. However, I am still a work in progress.

After all, there have been times when I have stopped to help. I don’t always allow the voice of pride talk me out of helping those in need of a little grace. Imperfect progress, right?

While reading Chapter Four of Not a Silent Night, I was reminded that I can either live a pride-filled life or a humble, grace-filled life. I can’t have it both ways.

I have the freewill to choose which option I prefer but if I don’t humble myself before God, He will eventually humble me – and I might not like His method.

If Mary had lived during this time and in our society, she very well could have been one of the people standing on a street corner holding a sign asking for help.

Mary was a lowly peasant girl and unimportant in the eyes of her community. She lived a modest life – one that probably would never lead to riches and luxury.

So, why did God choose her to be the Theotokos {Greek} or God-bearer?

Simply put, God chose Mary because he loves the most unlikely of people and exalts them above everyone else.

Mary possessed certain qualities God loves and He knew she could instill these qualities in His son.

She was humble. Filled with grace. And willing to offer herself to God completely, even at the young age of fourteen.

Mary was in her early teens when Gabriel announced she would be the mother of God’s son. She was the most unlikely of people to be chosen for this job but she was the “favored one” according the Gabriel.

What I love about the phrase “favored one” is that it means the same as “full of grace.” They are both translations of the Greek word kecharitomene. The root of this word is charis, which means grace.

The word charis appears 170 times in many forms in the New Testament. Eighty seven of those times are translated into “grace.”

As a Christian, I often hear the word grace but what exactly does it mean?

It’s been defined many ways, but I love the way Adam Hamilton describes it:

“Grace is God’s kindness, his love, his care, his work on our behalf, his blessings, his gifts, his goodness, his forgiveness, and his salvation. But it is more than that – it is all these things when they are undeserved, when they are pure gifts.”

God gives grace, not because it’s deserved, but because He loves us.

Mary didn’t have to be good enough to receive God’s grace and neither do I. Neither do you.

With this wonderful gift of grace, I am expected to give others grace as well. I may not agree with their life decisions but they don‘t have to be “good enough” for me to show them a little grace. Grace is simply a gift God has entrusted me to share because I’ve been given more grace than I deserve.

Bethany quote

Christmas is about God’s grace. Sin separated us from God yet God didn’t want to be separated from us. He desired reconciliation so He sent His son, pure and without sin, to give His life so we could be reunited with God upon our death.

Jesus is the ultimate gift from a God who loves us so much He sacrificed His only Son so we could live with Him forever.

Jesus is grace.

So to say that Mary was full of grace is, in essence, literal. Not only did Mary receive the gift of salvation that God gives us all (if we choose to accept it!) but she also carried Jesus inside of her. She was literally full of grace because her womb was filled with Jesus.

This Christmas, I am reminded that I was given a wonderful gift – the gift of grace.

What better gift to give than the one I’ve already received?

This week, answer any one of the following questions in the comment section:

 1. Has there ever been a time when pride has gotten the best of you and you ignored the small nudge from God?

2. Have you ever felt like you weren’t good enough to deserve God’s grace?

3. Can you identify with Mary’s feeling of “Why would God choose me?”

4. Was there anything else that caught your attention in Chapter Four?


Merry Christmas, Sweet Friends. I pray this journey has allowed you to remain focused on why we celebrate Christmas. Imperfect progress is still progress.

One more week . . . Until then, may you enjoy the beauty of the birth of our Savior . . .

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