My advent mediations are inspired by my recent study of 2 Corinthians which ended with a beautiful benediction—the only one that mentions all three persons of the Trinity: May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all (2 Corinthians 13:14 NIV). We have seen that the Trinity was with us in the Christmas story through grace, love, and fellowship. But how were grace, love, and fellowship also visible in the lives of the people in the Christmas events? And how do we demonstrate these traits in our own lives?
By grace, Mary received the undeserved honor of giving birth to and raising the Savior of the world. By grace, Joseph married pregnant Mary—accepting the direction of the Lord to defy custom and not exercise his lawful right to condemn her for adultery.
Joseph loved Mary by providing legitimacy and shielding her from potential disgrace. He gave up his own plans for his future to ensure that her commission would be carried out. The magi also loved sacrificially by traveling many miles and giving them expensive gifts.
Mary found fellowship (and love) in the safe company of Elizabeth while both prepared to be mothers. Joseph and Mary experienced communion—pondering the angel’s words, traveling, finding shelter, enduring childbirth, and partnering together. Then they celebrated the joy of their Savior’s birth with the shepherds, the Magi, Simeon, and Anna.
Likewise, we give undeserved grace to others, show unconditional love and enjoy true fellowship:
If, then, there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, make my joy complete by thinking the same way, having the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.Philippians 2:1–2 CSB
Because of Christmas, grace, love, and fellowship are with, in, and through US.
He became what we are so that we might become what he is.—Irenaeus, Athanasius
See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. (Hebrews 12:15 NIV) My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. (John 15:12 NIV) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 John 1:7 NIV)
In what ways will you give grace, show love, and enjoy fellowship with others this Christmas and beyond?
Lord, thank you that those who lived the first Christmas modeled grace, love, and fellowship. Teach us to love and serve others even if they don’t deserve it. Increase our fellowship as we seek to live in your kingdom together. May Jesus’ grace, God’s love, and the Spirit’s fellowship be with us all.
All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. (2 Corinthians 4:15 NIV)
Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace. (2 Corinthians 1:12 NIV)
Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:12–13 NIV)
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13 NIV)
God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:5 NIV)
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:4-5 NIV)
We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:3 NIV)