a gift freely given

God has done everything; he has done the impossible:
he was made flesh. His all–
powerful love has accomplished something which surpasses all human understanding:
the Infinite has become a child, has entered the human family.
And yet, this same God cannot enter my heart unless I open the door to him.”

Pope Benedict XVI


(Rosemary Beach / Julie Cook / 2020)

“God travels wonderful ways with human beings,
but he does not comply with the views and opinions of people.
God does not go the way that people want to prescribe for him; rather,
his way is beyond all comprehension, free and self-determined beyond all proof.
Where reason is indignant, where our nature rebels,
where our piety anxiously keeps us away:
that is precisely where God loves to be.
There he confounds the reason of the reasonable;
there he aggravates our nature, our piety—that is where he wants to be,
and no one can keep him from it.
Only the humble believe him and rejoice that God is so free and so marvelous
that he does wonders where people despair,
that he takes what is little and lowly and makes it marvelous.
And that is the wonder of all wonders, that God loves the lowly…
God is not ashamed of the lowliness of human beings.
God marches right in.
He chooses people as his instruments and performs his wonders where
one would least expect them.
God is near to lowliness; he loves the lost,
the neglected, the unseemly, the excluded,
the weak and broken.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God is in the Manger:
Reflections on Advent and Christmas

And so He has come…

God of God
Light of Light
Very God of very God…

Begotten of woman, not made
Born man
Crucified
Dead
Buried
and yet Risen again for our Redemption and Deliverance

And so it is on this Christmas day…
this day of Light and Hope…that we find not only life…
but it is in that life that we must also find death…

For it is in the miracle of both life and death…
That of His birth, His life and eventually His death…
it is there that we actually find our most necessary Hope…

It is a hope found in both life and death—
of which each mingle together so blessedly and painfully…
yet oh so poignantly…
melding into that single transcendence of the Resurrection.

So on this Christmas day we are reminded, once again, that yes,
we are to rejoice…
We rejoice because we have each been invited to a grand banquet…
We have been invited to claim our rightful place at the table…
taking in all that is freely given and yet that which is gravely
undeserved…
but miraculously given nonetheless.

So in that Hope, found in both birth and death,
is a brilliance of illumination…scattering the
darkness from wherever it yearns to spread.

A great Light has shown in that darkness.
And that darkness scatters
because that Light has overcome the darkness.

Hope
Joy
Salvation
Redemption
Deliverence
Resurrection
Life…

All of which is offered to each man and woman, young and old,
sick and in-firmed, lofty and simple…underseved, yet a gift
freely given…

So yes, we are told to rejoice…

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Again I say,
Rejoice!

“What worthy return can we make for so great a condescension?
The One Only-begotten God, ineffably born of God,
entered the Virgin’s womb and grew and took the frame of poor humanity.
He who upholds the universe, within whom and through whom are all things,
was brought forth by common childbirth.
He at whose voice archangels and angels tremble,
and heaven and earth and all the elements of this world are melted,
was heard in childish wailing.
The Invisible and Incomprehensible,
whom sight and feeling and touch cannot measure, was wrapped in a cradle.”

St. Hilary of Poitiers

24 comments on “a gift freely given

  1. Merry Christmas SC!! Hugs from your GW!!

  2. […] a gift freely given — cookiecrumbstoliveby […]

  3. K.L. Hale says:

    Merry Christmas, Julie! What a beautiful post. The quotes and thoughts sum up every feeling I have about our Savior. I was going to email you my friend. I hadn’t seen you and was worried (or thought the Gremlins had messed with our connection). I’m sending love and hugs to you and your precious family on this Christmas Day! ❤️🎄💚

  4. Karen says:

    Merry Christmas Julie.

  5. Merry Christmas, Julie! 🙂

  6. atimetoshare.me says:

    Merry Christmas, my wise and wonderful friend. May God continue His work in you and get you through this rough patch. Our hope is built alone on Him and He will deliver no matter what. Christmas blessings to your entire family. Love and hugs too!

  7. bcparkison says:

    Blessings to you and yours.

  8. Tricia says:

    Lovely post for today Julie. Merry Christmas to you and your family! I hope all is well.

  9. Dawn Marie says:

    So on this Christmas day we are reminded, once again, that yes,
    we are to rejoice…
    We rejoice because we have each been invited to a grand banquet…
    We have been invited to claim our rightful place at the table…
    taking in all that is freely given and yet that which is gravely
    undeserved…
    but miraculously given nonetheless.

    Love this! And am truly learning to take my seat at the table…the seat He has ordained for me. However, still struggling with some of the dinner guests sitting next to me. Pray for me, won’t you??? 😊😊😊🤣🤣🤣

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