I love Brennan Manning. I've never met him. But I'd hoped that someday I would. I hoped that one day I would hear him speak.
I've read only a couple of his books. And every day I read a selection of Reflections for Ragamuffins.
He talks of Love. His words have done more to show me the unfaltering love of God than anything I've read, apart from Scripture.
He talks of Grace. Grace to accept ourselves as imperfect. Grace to accept ourselves as we are, where we are, just as God does.
Our pastor knows Brennan Manning. He told us that he and an associate pastor travelled to visit with him a few days ago. Mr. Manning is now in an assisted living home. The alcoholism of his past had unalterable affects on his body. It's caught up with him and now he struggles with dementia and blindness.
My heart broke to hear this news. I'd imagined him out there still preaching and teaching and writing.
Pastor said that after they had visited a while Mr. Manning leaned forward and said, "Can I ask you a question?" The pastors moved closer, eager to hear what thought provoking question this man of wisdom would present...
"Can you guys leave now?"He asked.
As the pastor told this story, he laughed. We laughed. Brennan Manning was tired. He was honest.
Our pastor said to us, "That's grace. Grace is being what you are, not what you think you should be."
Grace is being who you are, not who you think you should be.
Grace is having the decorations you have, not the ones you think you should have.
Grace is baking the cookies you bake (or don't), not the ones you think you should bake.
Grace is having the parties you throw (or don't), not the parties you think you should throw....
Grace is freedom. Grace is honesty. Grace is the whole purpose for God coming down as a baby in the first place.
This Christmas, embrace grace. Just be, and forget whatever it is you think should be.