I just recently became acquainted with Preston Yancey’s blog through A Deeper Story when my step-dad emailed me a link to one of Preston’s stories. It took about ten seconds for me to add both blogs to my RSS feed. After Preston posted a preview of his Advent eBook, This Fearsome Thing of Grace, I was ecstatic when he announced that he wanted bloggers to review it. Preston was gracious enough to send me a free copy of the eBook for review purposes, and it has been my joy to read it, and I pray that I do his brilliant work justice as I write.
Before we can begin to understand, define, or believe in grace, we have to understand the problem grace addresses. Preston rightly shows us that the problem grace addresses is much bigger than us, it is the problem of evil in general. And that, just maybe, evil isn’t supposed to make sense.
Through vivid imagery and stunning prose, Preston illustrates for us the problems of evil and self, and how grace will, at times, violently wreck our sense of self, challenging our sense of safety and understanding of goodness. Yet, at the same time, he communicates the truth of our value before a holy, righteous God, which we see demonstrated in the very incarnation of the holy God who stepped out of Heaven onto Earth to live, eat, work, and breathe as one of us.
Christmas is normally a time when many of us focus on adding things to ourselves. Whether it be new technology, toys, or trinkets, we all seek to add something to ourselves on this most important day. Indeed, it started well, as a remembrance of the gift God gave us in the gospel, and (though possibly misunderstood) as a reflection of the gifts the wise men gave the incarnate Toddler. But, while it may have started as a practice of giving, it has morphed into a practice of getting, because our focus is on ourselves, because we “got” Jesus that first Christmas.
But we forget that in the first Advent, Someone much greater than ourselves gave up everything to add humanity to Himself to become the incarnate Baby that we “got” that starry night so long ago. So, I challenge you, as Advent begins on November 27th, read through This Fearsome Thing of Grace with me as it takes us through a daily denial of self and presses us to esteem Christ more valuable, truly preparing our hearts for Christmas Day.