You are saved by God’s grace because of your faith. This salvation is God’s gift. It’s not something you possessed. It’s not something you did that you can be proud of.
“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!” — Ebenezer Scrooge
When I was a boy, I remember hearing my mom and dad shun the word “proud.” After successful baseball games, after piano recitals that went well, people would say things like “aren’t you so proud?” And quickly and politely, they would let the person know that they didn’t have anything to do with it, so proud isn’t the right word. And then they’d heap praise on me in other ways.
I vividly remember thinking it was odd. As an adult now, I see Paul’s scripture, and Scrooge’s transformation, clearly acknowledging that being proud can only happen when we’ve had anything to do with it. God’s love and grace are beyond our grasp or understanding, and we’d be foolish to think anything we’ve done has earned that. Our obligation, it seems, is to spread love and grace.
God of love and grace, give us wisdom to see how little we’ve had to do with the immense blessings you’ve bestowed on us. And give us boundless energy to show love and grace, at all costs, to those around us. Amen.