I suppose I suffer from a “perfectionist syndrome”. I came by it honestly – it was modeled to me perfectly while growing up. I consider it a gift – my wife considers it a curse, and therein lies a wonderful creative marriage tension. My symptoms are on grand display every Christmas morning. I am at total peace when my family is ripping into their gifts while I sit quietly in the corner of our living room sipping my hazelnut coffee from one hand and holding a Hefty “Lawn Size” garbage bag in the other. My girls know the routine now – appreciate the gift and the giver and then get dad the torn apart wrapping paper and opened boxes. In my warped mind, a clean and orderly Christmas Morn’ is a happy Christmas Morn’. Now admittedly, there are a few negative byproducts to my efficient strategy. Inevitably, in my sweeping clean up routine, I throw away (allegedly) something incredibly important. I consider this but a small price to pay for order. My wife and girls consider this treason. Case and point – a few Christmas ago one of my daughters opened one of those electronic learning pads. I am convinced that Satan himself designed this “toy” because we could never get it to work. I guess if we read the instructions, that may have helped, but we couldn’t find them. Of course, I was to blame – “dad must have threw them out” – morning drama. They were no where to be found – gone, without a trace.

As we read through the book of Luke, this theme of “without a trace” plays over and over in my mind. You may be familiar with the TV show “Without A Trace”. This show follows an FBI team that specializes in searching for missing persons. CBS says that “the team reconstructs a “Day of Disappearance” timeline that details every minute of the 24 hours prior to the disappearance, following one simple rule: learn who the victim is in order to learn where the victim is.”

The more I learn about who I am, the more I see where I am. Without Christ, I am nothing. With Him, I am a favored son of God. Without GRACE, I am lost and hopeless. With GRACE, I am ushered into an abundant life. Matthew West sings a song called “Only Grace”. The chorus goes like this:

There’s only grace
There’s only love
There’s only mercy
And believe me it’s enough
Your sins are gone
Without a trace
There’s nothing left now
There’s only grace

Thank you Lord, that with repentance, our sins are gone without a trace. Your Son sweeps away the ripped wrappings of our life to leave us with His new mercies every morning. Thank you Jesus…Amen.


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