Christmas Eve: Receiving the Gift of Acceptance

Christmas Eve, December 24
Read Psalm 8:1-4

The gift that is the most difficult to receive is the gift of acceptance:  to accept God’s acceptance of me in spite of what I perceive to be my own unacceptability.  To recognize that I cannot earn God’s love, or do anything to impress God, means I must give up my illusion of perfection and my illusion of immortality.  Nothing forces me to confront the reality of my own mortality like having a serious illness or losing a parent or losing a child.  Almost as startling as “looking death in the face” is the realization that I have successfully ignored this reality for so long!

But God delights in me just as I am!  God knows my make-up and remembers that I am human.  (Psalm 103:13-14

When I’m a Mess

God knows I’m a mess
God knows I’m an earthly creation
But whenever I tell God I’m a mess
or have messed up,
And I go on to say, “But I’m your mess!”
God smiles and is pleased.

Like the fix-it man, whose joy is in restoring toasters and tools
Like the garden lady, whose hours of bending with her hands in the dirt
is rewarded with a bounty of blooms
Like the mother who cleans up muddy bloody knees and elbows
and kisses away the tears
Like the father who consoles without criticism
the one who lost the game:

So God sees messy me as
His tool to fix and use,
His flower to tend and enjoy,
His child to comfort and love,
His disciple to teach and send forth,

His creation to complete.  (NRS)

Consider: To receive God’s acceptance, I must confess my sins and shortcomings, put myself totally in God’s care, and ask God to fix my mess!  The result is freedom from the guilt of sin, from loneliness, and from despair.


About Nancy Smith

Nancy Smith has 20 years’ experience in technical writing and management in software companies. She also has more than 20 years in Christian ministry as an educator, course designer, retreat leader, spiritual director, pastor, and coach. A United Methodist Deacon, Smith has her M.Div. from Boston University. She is a graduate of the Guild for Spiritual Guidance, and is certified in Spiritual Direction and Retreat Leadership from Boston College.
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One Response to Christmas Eve: Receiving the Gift of Acceptance

  1. Frank Ober says:

    This is a parallel to the problem of forgiveness. I find that the inmates at the jail are sometimes quite hard on themselves, having difficulty in forgiving them selves. I certainly can identify with that problem. Knowing that God can and does forgive is not necessarily something that is easy to accept especially if one has enough age on them to have lived back in the day when God was perceived as a harsh God who was waiting for us to mess up so he could punish us. Peace, Frank

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