Reactions reveal our hearts. When the cup tips over, when the toast burns, when the employee is late again, when your child disobeys again, when she says that or he makes that face, how do you react? In the Hebrew worldview the heart was down in the guts, in the kidneys. We still recognize this phenomenon when we refer to our “gut reactions” or “gut feelings.” Advent and Christmas are busy times of the year; more people, more food, less sleep, and it’s easy to make a million excuses for being ungracious. But we are celebrating God’s reaction to a messed up world. God’s reaction was grace and sacrifice. He did not respond to our mess and sin with the thundering vengeance it well deserved. He responded by drawing near to us; he responded by taking flesh upon himself to sympathize with us and experience life as we know it. This is the gospel, and all ugly reactions are false gospels. Are your words, actions, facial expressions and tones of voice declaring the gospel of pure, undeserved grace in Jesus? Or have you lived a false gospel, one where God begrudgingly comes to our aid, or where God’s anger overflows in torrent of harsh words. Christmas is God’s gracious reaction to our sin, and we are called not only to worship this newborn king, but to imitate him, stirring up grace in our hearts.
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