Grandma was in her glory because her grandchildren were circled all around her. She gloried in their presence, looking at each fresh-scrubbed face, peering, it seemed, deep down into each of their souls. And she liked what she saw. “Aren’t you beautiful!” she would say to the girls, and “Don’t you look handsome!” she would exclaim to the boys. And then she would grab hold of each one and pull that child into her big, cozy grandma hug. She would hug them once and say, “This one’s for being such a good girl (or boy).” Then another hug. “This one’s for helping grandma and grandpa today.” Finally a hug with no words. “What’s that one for, Grandma?” one of the little ones asked. “That one’s just for being you.”

Faith is like that final hug. It’s not a reward that we earn, it’s a gift that we’re given—just for being who we are. We can’t earn our way to the love of God, that’s already given. But there are ways of living and behaving that help us access, accept, and appreciate that gift.