The season of the Lord’s Nativity is truly a time of grace – beginning with Gabriel’s salutation to Mary: “Hail, full of grace.” Grace can be understood as God’s favour which we do not merit. Grace is quite apart from everyday contractual fair play: an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work. The good news is an invitation to respond to and live within this economy of grace which Jesus has established.
The Reading from yesterday’s Evening Prayer bears this out:
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph 2:4ff)