God meets me in the strangest places these days.  I’ve already shared how God met me in Target and while visiting The Big Guy.  This morning, He met me in my kitchen, over a plate of Eggo mini-pancakes, Zippy Zoo vitamins, and a plastic Ikea cup of orange juice.

He met me in the tear-filled eyes of a 10-year-old boy.

Most mornings, breakfast is a time of hurry-up, we-gotta-get-to-school-on-time, quit-talking-and-eat-your-breakfast.  But not today.  Today, breakfast was a time of being still, of listening, of pondering…and of learning.

I noticed Trey seemed a bit emotional as he was preparing his breakfast.  I asked him if he was okay.  In a shaky voice he replied:

I was getting dressed this morning and I just started thinking about what a sinful man I am.   And I realized…that…I just don’t deserve to go to Heaven.

He wiped his eyes, took a deep breath, and in a sorrowful voice continued:

Sometimes, I just feel like there’s a demon running around inside me…and…I just don’t deserve to go to Heaven.

And before he could stop them, the tears splashed down onto his cheeks.  His chin quivered.  He struggled to compose himself.  And so did I.

Because…he gets it. That whole redemption story?  That whole idea of the total depravity of man, the concept of grace, the theology of unmerited favor?  He understands that.  Far greater than many twice, three times – heck, even TEN times – his age, Trey has grasped in his heart what so many have rejected.

That’s the whole point.  That’s the whole reason for Christmas.  That’s the real reason we celebrate Christ’s birth.  Not simply because He came, but because of what He came for.  Not simply because He became a man, but because of what He became for us.  Not simply because He lived on earth, but because of what He lived on earth to do.

Trey’s right.  We don’t go to Heaven because we deserve it.  Even at our best, we fall woefully short of God’s standard of absolute perfection.  Despite our best efforts, we never could attain it.  And that’s what makes Christmas so special.  That’s why we celebrate the gift…the gift of sacrifice, the gift of atonement, the gift of eternal life, the gift of Heaven.

And as I stood in my kitchen, I held that precious boy in my arms and assured Him of God’s promise of forgiveness, of the certainty of His salvation, and the protection of His spirit.  I’m almost certain there was another pair of arms enfolding us in a loving embrace, as God’s smiled from Heaven at the treasure He had placed in my son’s heart.

Once again, I realized just how undeserving I am…of this child God has given me, of the blessings I enjoy in this life, of God’s love and salvation…and of Heaven.