What do Christians mean when they say 'God is gracious'?

Christians believe that the best way to explain the word ‘gracious’ is to describe what God is like. The Bible teaches that God is mighty, strong and powerful, yet he is interested in everything people do, even the little things. Another way to think about God's graciousness is to think about God being greater than anything or anybody and yet showing his love and kindness to the smallest of things.

Christians believe that one way to try and imagine how mighty, strong and powerful God is, is to think about him as the creator of the universe.

God is gracious

Hold up a ball about 30 cm in diameter. Explain that in this illustration the ball is going to represent the sun. Quickly tell three amazing facts about the sun:

  • The sun is extremely hot – the surface is 5500 degrees Celsius (cakes are usually baked  at around 170 degrees Celsius!).
  • Plants need sunlight to grow – it takes about eight minutes for light to travel from the sun to the earth.
  • The sun is much, much, much bigger then our planet earth – the diameter of the sun is about 109 times greater than the diameter of the earth.

To demonstrate the size of the sun, hold a peppercorn next to the ball. Explain that if you shrunk the earth and the sun down until the earth was the size of a peppercorn the sun would be about the size of the ball. Explain that the sun is a star and that there are millions of stars in the universe, some bigger, some smaller than the sun. In light of this illustration try to encourage the children to think about how big the universe is. Talk about how powerful and mighty Christians believe God is because they believe he made the universe.

Remind the children how this illustration relates back to the definition of God's graciousness:

Christians believe that God is greater than the universe (the illustration demonstrated that the universe is far bigger than we could ever imagine) and yet he shows kindness to people who are tiny in comparison with him - this is why Christians say ‘God is gracious’.