Grace, a Guitar, and Gabriel
Two years ago my teenage son Gabriel wanted a guitar for Christmas. I thought, “Yeah, that will be used for a couple weeks and then sit in his room as a museum piece.” (I’m pretty sure there is still a starter guitar of mine gathering dust at my parent’s house somewhere)
I couldn’t have been more wrong!
In the last two years the guitar has hardly left my son’s hand and he has truly found “his thing”. Needing a better guitar this Christmas the family headed down to the Tom Lee music store in search of an instrument more in keeping with his developing talents.
With the Christmas money from us and from some grandparents we told him he could get a guitar in the “x” dollar range. Of course he fell in love with a guitar that was a fair bit more.
Any parent knows that feeling. I wanted to bless him…to feel the joy of his joy receiving something that he would truly appreciate!
But it was Christmas and our budget just didn’t allow for it. I suggested we buy a gift certificate to set what money we had aside and then work towards getting that guitar over the next 3 or 4 months.
Gabriel agreed to the idea while not quite hiding the disappointment of not getting a “Christmas” guitar that day. Then Tammy suggested we ask about a lay-a-way plan. Gabriel reluctantly went up to the counter to ask and a moment later came back clearly excited. “Yes, we can buy my guitar now and pay it off over six months…I can take it home today!”
The joy and anticipation on Gabriel’s face was pure “Christmas” but then suddenly all of these conditions I wanted to impose came into my head. Gabriel’s grades at school had slacked this term and two or three teachers had brought their concern to me. As I was forming what expectations I had in this transaction Tammy already began speaking them out.
“Ok Gabriel, but if we get you this guitar you have to promise us you’re going to try harder in school next term. You need to study over the holiday, you need to…”
On it went…
This is the love we understand!
Love based on expectations
Love based on conditions
Love based on performance
If you do this then you can get that
The thing is, its not the love God demonstrates to us. The love that comes without strings and hooks. It’s funny, when I see “the law” at work these days I’m much more sensitive to it…and ready to counter it with grace!
I interrupted Tammy, “Gabriel, there are no conditions on this guitar. You don’t have to study harder for it, get better grades for it, or perform for it in any way. You are getting this guitar simply because your mother and I love you and we want you to have it.”
Tammy quickly responded with a hug for her son, “Yes, of course. It’s instinct to want to slap conditions on a gift. We love you Gabriel.”
We all hugged right there in the music store. Yeah, a little cheesy I know but hey, it was Christmas and that’s how Christmas stories end.
Gabriel walked out of the store with his new guitar in hand and a spring in his step.
Grace in our lives always puts a spring in our step.
Happy New Year everyone!
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