John 1:16 – For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.

This short, simple, yet beautiful verse is the very promise of Christmas. Christ came as God’s gift to us, embracing Him is embracing His gift of grace that is the source of all life and godliness. He draws us, accepts us, and changes us all through this gift of God’s grace. Here is how the CWSB Dictionary describes it.

“ Charis (grace) , when received by faith, transforms man and causes him to love and to seek after the righteousness of God. Cháris is initially regeneration, the work of the Holy Spirit in which spiritual life is given to man and by which his nature is brought under the dominion of righteousness.”

The happiness and change all of us are ultimately looking for is found in this simple verse. Grace has come into the world at the birth of Christ, grace enters into our world when we are born again. Martin Luther preached extensively on grace and also extensively about Christmas. He loved the phrase in today’s verse, ‘grace upon grace’. Here are some of his comments.

“And what do we really receive? ‘Grace on grace.’ John speaks of two types of grace. Christ’s grace is the unfathomable well and chief fountain of all grace; he called this “Christ’s fullness.” And ours is that grace which we draw from Christ, which he distributes among us and which he gives for his mercy’s sake to render us pleasing and agreeable to God. Thus Saint John diverts us from any reliance on self and from any confidence in our own work and merit, and he directs us to the mercy of Christ and to the love of God. This he does not only in this text but throughout his entire Gospel and his epistles.”

So when we say ‘Merry Christmas’ what are we actually saying? The source of ‘Merry’ is the grace of God. We are living in a dark world and often overcome with the sadness that personifies that darkness. The light of Christ’s birth penetrated the darkness of the world and penetrates the darkness of our personal lives. Receive His grace, take in His grace upon grace. As you do the gift of God drives darkness and sadness of heart away from you. You begin to drink from this fountain of grace upon grace. What is the result? You begin to have yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

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