A few days ago, on January 6th, we observed the Christian holiday “Epiphany” which marks the day that the three wisemen, bearing gifts for the newborn king, came to see baby Jesus in the manger at Bethlehem. Epiphany is also known as Three Kings Day and also marks the final celebratory day of the Christian holiday season — and the official “take down your Christmas tree” day.

As I boxed up Christmas, I focused on my most treasured decoration — the hand carved nativity set given to me by my father years ago. He carved each figure with precision and perfection. I carefully wrapped each piece and when I came to the wisemen, I reflected on their journey and the gifts they brought to Jesus so long ago.

My most treasured decoration

I held the little wooden manger with the delicately carved baby Jesus in my hands and carefully turned it over to read the special message my dad had carved on it. It read: “To Katie, Love Dad.” I felt a twinge of sadness as I pondered my dad and the strong hands that so lovingly had made these figurines; every detail spoke of his love for me. I will treasure this special gift forever.

Baby Jesus and manger

My nativity set carved by my dad

The last picture I took with my dad❤️

I reflected on the symbolism of this precious gift. Our Heavenly Father has given us the greatest gift: Jesus. I am inspired to share Him with everyone and not only at Christmas. The gift of Jesus and the grace He brings is one that we can keep on giving every day of the year.

I have come up with some ways we can share the gift of grace with those around us starting this New Year.

  • Give the gift of forgiveness and don’t hold grudges.

    Forgiveness is an amazing way to show grace to those we don’t believe deserve it. Scientific research shows that holding grudges is not good for our health. A grudge is a persistent feeling of resentment resulting from a past insult or injury. In the Bible, Jesus tells us to forgive others. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

    As we begin this new year is there someone that comes to mind that you need to forgive?

  • Give the gift of encouragement.

    Share uplifting and positive words with others. “Let your conversation be always full of grace.” (Colossians 4:6) We can put on a listening ear and carefully choose the words we say to one another. Gracious, gentle words bring healing and benefit those who hear them.

    Is there someone who specifically comes to mind that you can encourage today?

  • Give a helping hand and go the extra mile.

    We can extend God’s grace by serving one another. Think of something extra special and unexpected that you could do for someone. “Each of you should use whatever gifts you have received to serve others as faithful servants of God’s grace in various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10)

    Is there someone who comes to mind that needs an extra hand or act of service?

  • Give the hope of the Gospel.

    One of the ways to share God’s grace is to tell others what Jesus has done for you and share with them how they can come to know Him personally. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

    Is there someone on your heart today or in this new year that needs to hear this hope?

  • Give yourself the gift of grace.

    There are times in our lives we may say or do or even think something that we aren’t pleased with or regret. At these moments instead of beating ourselves up and dwelling on these things, the greatest gift we can give ourselves is grace. We can forgive ourselves and move on and stay anchored on the promise that we are loved by Jesus Christ, and nothing can separate us from that love.

In conclusion, as we embark on this new year let’s be encouraged to share Jesus and give the gift of grace to those around us every day of the year!

With hope and light,