At the very end of the Gospel passage that is proclaimed on Christmas Day, we hear this phrase from St. John, “And the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.” Full of grace and truth; Jesus was, Jesus is, full of grace and truth. His Gift to us, God the Father’s gift to us in the person of His Son is the fullness of Grace and Truth. Grace is favor, grace is help, Grace is God’s favor, it is God’s help. It is a free gift. It is unmerited, it cannot be earned and we can either take it or leave it. Grace is the teacher staying after school to help a student succeed. It is the employer helping the employee to learn a new skill or helping to place him at a different position where he has a better chance to succeed. Truth is reality. It is what is; like it or not. It can be sought or learned, but it cannot be changed, at least not easily. It can be confusing, and not always easy for us to see especially when we refer to the truth regarding ourselves. It can be very painful, but it also can be especially beautiful, liberating and even transformative. Grace asks the question does it help or does it heal. Truth asks is it real, or is it not real. Truth can lead us to the conclusion that everything is not Ok. It can lead to the awareness of sin. Grace and truth are most definitely related and interrelated. Truth leads to grace. Grace insists on truth.  Jesus brought the fullness of grace and truth to every interaction that He ever had in His life.  He always led individuals to face the reality of the situation in which they found themselves but at the same time gave them the comfort of His saving grace. He forgave the adulterous woman of her sin and saved her from those about to stone her but commanded her to go and sin no more.  When the rich young man approached Him and asked Him what he had to do to get to heaven, Jesus looked at him and loved him-but then challenged him to sell all his possessions and give the money to the poor. When His disciples were being tossed about and frightened by the stormy sea, He first quieted the sea and then scolded His disciples for their lack of faith.  Jesus never brought either grace or truth; He always brought both grace and truth. We human beings tend to either favor one or the other. Those of us who tend to favor truth might be in fact very much correct but not very helpful. In fact, we might even use truth as a weapon. Those of us who favor grace might overlook offensive behavior to the detriment of one’s own self or others. If we take grace or truth away from a situation the results will be unfortunate; they will not be what God intended. If however we bring both grace and truth we help ourselves and others to be more healthy, more productive, more attractive and more at peace. In fact, the combination of grace and truth is absolutely irresistible. Maybe we have experienced it with some of our peers. That’s what attracted people to Jesus 2000 years ago, even as a babe in a manger. 

AuthorCathy Remick