#2 You'll always find something that you may have missed before.
I've read the same Scriptures to the kids as part of our Christmas countdown for the past three years. I use the Advent booklet by Ann Voskamp as a guide. It basically walks us from Adam and Eve to the birth of Jesus in 27 days. (It starts on November 29.)
This year I discovered a common thread throughout the story that I never noticed before. It has to do with the preservation of the line of Jesus when all reason would have ended it time and time again. It starts in the beginning...
Adam and Eve: They ate from the forbidden tree, God could have killed them then and there and started over, but he didn't. He allowed them to live (for a while) and multiply. Grace.
Noah: He was spared when the Lord saw fit to wipe out everyone else. He didn't have to...once again, He could have just started over, but he didn't. Grace.
Abraham and Isaac: God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham had enough faith that he was going to actually do it. God could have let it happen, but he provided a ram as a substitute instead. Grace.
Joseph and his brothers: As Pharaoh's right-hand man, Joseph had all the power he needed to punish his brothers, including Judah, for their earlier betrayal. He could have killed them all, who would have blamed him, but he didn't. He showed them grace.
Rahab: The Israelites allowed her and her family to live after she hid the spies in her home. They didn't have to do this. It was grace.
Esther: She could have been killed by the king, but she took her chances. She saved the Jews by being the recipient of unlikely grace.
Mary: She could have been stoned to death for her perceived unfaithfulness to Joseph. However, he had decided to put her away quietly. He showed her grace before he even knew what was going on.
Grace, grace, unreasonable grace. It flows through the whole story leading up to the birth of Jesus and comes to a climax when Jesus makes the ultimate sacrifice for us by dying on the cross to save us from our sins. We are recipients of unreasonable grace. It's His gift to us everyday. He wants us to have His grace.
5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:5-7).