Joanne Chan, Director of “Sounds Like Grace”

“Sounds like grace” was a short dramatic skit that depicted the everyday lives of urban folks in current times. The skit aimed to highlight the various struggles of different generations. 

There is Grandpa, the once successful businessman who finds himself losing his memory. No longer the person that he was, he grieves the loss of his independence, struggles with the change in the dynamics between his son and worries about the future. Then, there is his son, Mr Tan, who has lost his job and is struggling with the changes in his father’s health and behaviour. His wife, Mrs Tan, who lost quite a bit of money due to a scam, is now at a loss after learning that her daughter has been harming herself. Lastly, there is Mia, the daughter with a history of bullying and a past she wishes to erase. Feeling empty and out of place, she turns to self harming. 

The skit left the story hanging, without a conclusion. Many who had looked forward to a heartwarming Christmas story found this unsettling and even disheartening. 

However, isn’t that life? More often than not, there are no resolutions to the struggles we face. Dementia still has no cure and is an awful disease for the person and the family to live with. Self harm is known to be a risk factor for suicide. Many unemployed struggle to get back on their feet, as opportunities pass them by. And scammers often get away with the crimes they commit. Echoing what was narrated at the beginning of the skit, what then should Christmas sound like to those who find themselves struggling, suffering?

The message of Christmas sounds like this – there is a loving Father who sent his Son to this world to save humanity. Through the birth of Jesus Christ, there is hope for salvation and a restored relationship with God the Father. This gift of salvation is His grace towards us. And if we open our hearts to receive the Son, we receive His grace to be reconciled to the Father. There is life after this human life. Life without pain and suffering, without darkness and strife. Eternal life. This is His grace. 

Does it then mean that once we receive His grace, all of life’s problems go away? I can definitely say no. But receiving His grace gives us a new lens in how we see this life. We begin to see hints of His ‘extra’ grace sprinkled everywhere in our lives. It could be a moment of lucidity, a dedicated teacher, a loyal friendship, a good night’s rest, an opportunity to reconnect with people, or a heartfelt conversation. We start to experience more of His peace, comfort and joy in the suffering that we live through. We start to see and hear traces of God with us. He is God Emmanuel. 

As writer, director and producer of this skit, I hope you’ve heard the sound of grace this Christmas. Oh how sweet the sound, how sweet the sound that saves us.

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