Undeserved gifts

But—When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. – Titus 3:4–5

According to legend, Nicholas of Myra – the fourth century bishop who inspired the modern-day Santa Claus – is said to have rescued young women from a tragic fate by secretly slipping gold coins through their window so their father could pay a dowry for each of them.

Those young girls did nothing to earn or deserve this; he simply had compassion on them.

Unfortunately, our current day Santa is often portrayed as an all-seeing character who rewards good girls and boys for good behavior but gives no gifts to those on the “naughty” list.

We can all appreciate parents wanting to use any tool they can to get kids to behave. But it seems today’s Santa is a far cry from Nicholas of Myra. And quite honestly, he’s a far cry from what we find in today’s reading from Titus 3:4–5.

Jesus is described as God’s “kindness and love,” and we are told that He saved us not because of anything we’d done, but because of His great mercy.

This Christmas season, spend time meditating on the truth that Jesus is the embodiment of the love, kindness, and mercy of God. Nothing you have done earns you this gift, and nothing you can do puts you out of reach of the salvation He offers.

Prayer Challenge

Today, thank God for the Savior He sent for you, and for His mercy in your life.

Questions for Thought

What are ways you can keep the fun “magic” of Christmas alive while at the same time, focusing on its true meaning?

Is it easy or hard for you to accept that the salvation God offers is not tied to your own righteousness? Why?