Redeeming Grace

We faced the double doors which led to theatre.
Only I could go through those doors.
When I came out, after surgery, I’d be deaf.
My parents knew the words they spoke now would be the last I’d ever hear.
“I love you.”
Three little words which say so much.
Three little words which followed me into theatre.
“I love you.”
It may even have been the first time my Dad had said them to me.
But he’d shown me my entire life.
I knew Dad loved me.

Ever since creation, even through creation, God has been saying,
I love you.
Sometimes people recognised that, but often they didn’t.
God is still saying I love you.
Maybe you recognise that, maybe you don’t.
Eventually God said,
I want you to know.
I long for you to know
my love.
So I’m going to show you.
And Jesus came.
Which is what Christmas is all about.
The very best God could give you.

One Christmas, I taught a young choir to sing the carol ‘Silent Night’ in sign language.
I was only able to do so because, before I lost my hearing, my Mum insisted I learn to sign. I didn’t want to. I remember asking her why I’d want to learn sign language?
I will never forget her answer:
“So we can communicate visually when you can’t hear.”

Jesus,
coming as a baby at Christmas,
is God communicating visually when the world does not hear.
Showing the world how much He loves us.
Showing you how much He loves you.

‘Silent night! Holy night!
Son of God, Love’s pure light;
Radiant beams from thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.’

Maybe you think ‘the dawn of redeeming grace’ is for others, not for you.
There’s so much hurt, or anger, or fear, or bitterness, or wrong in your life.
How can God’s grace possibly reach that far?

The day my little goddaughter realised I am deaf, she said;
“It doesn’t matter that you can’t hear. You’re still special.”

God says it doesn’t matter what you’ve done.
It doesn’t matter what you’ve not done.
You’re still special.
Jesus came for you.
I gave the very best,
for you.

A ‘dawn of redeeming grace’.
That’s what Christmas is about.
A new beginning.
There is nothing God’s grace cannot reach.
He loves you too much for that.

The night before I lost my hearing, I listened to Handel’s Messiah.
On perhaps the most hopeless night in my life,
when I was about to become deaf forever,
I heard the words,
‘For unto us a child is born…’

There is always hope.
And it starts with Jesus.

(Taken from Merry Christmas Everyone, 2018)

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