When did you last receive a second chance? Remember that moment. You could see your let down or failure. It might have caused you to question your ability or even think you might not deserve another shot. Then seemingly out of nowhere, you received a second chance. A person gave you the opportunity of grace. The opportunity you considered lost became regained.

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Perhaps, people have become disillusioned with second chances. They experience the let downs and the sometimes empty ritualistic ask for forgiveness. Along the way many are conditioned to ask, “Did they really mean it?” or “Are they really going to change?”

We find ourselves in the midst of a season of hope. Christmas invites to see the light of God’s goodness in spite of the darkness of evil. Somewhere between our messy relationships and chaotic world, December brings us back to grace. A new year signals an opportunity for redemption.

Jon Foreman wrote the lyrics, “Every breath is a second chance.” Maybe second chances happen more often than we realize. It’s not only the next breath, but the next minute, hour, day, and year.

Advent is about second chances. Jesus comes to earth as the Second Adam. Where the first Adam in Genesis failed, the Second Adam in Jesus Christ offers reconciliation. The Gospel gives us the Good News of Christ’s death and resurrection. As Paul would later say, Christ brought us near who were once far away (Ephesians 2:11-22).

Even when you consider the Christmas stories outside of Jesus, each of them points to the truth of a second chance. Scrooge recaptures the joy of life. George Bailey regains meaning to his life. The Grinch experiences belonging.

What if we allowed ourselves to see the second chances of this year? We would like back and see how people have offered us grace. At certain points during the year, we could recall how family, friends, and coworkers gave us grace. Then we could begin to see how God has offered us grace.

When you know the experience of a second chance, this leads you to extend this to others. Not out of blind naivety, but out of the recognition of the grace received from Christ and others. As you reflect on this season of Advent, Christ coming to earth reminds us of grace and reconciliation we experience with the people around us.

Who do you have the opportunity to offer a second chance? In what areas of your life have you experienced a second chance?

Photo credit by Viktor Hanacek.