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Monday, December 15, 2008

Day 17: God's Gifts of Mercy

The account of Elizabeth in Luke's gospel is quite remarkable. Elizabeth and Zachariah conceive a baby the "normal way" but what is remarkable about their pregnancy is that they are old and have not previously succeeded in this area. The scriptures refers to this event as an act of mercy on the part of God. This is a very interesting perspective because what Elizabeth was being asked to do, bear a child in her older years, actually sound more like a burden than an act of mercy. And yet, in Luke 1:57 we see that the friends and neighbors who surrounded her acknowledged that the Lord had indeed shown great mercy to Zachariah and Elizabeth.
The unexpected, the "impossible". What is in your life that you believe to be impossible? Perhaps God in his great mercy can make it happen. Maybe a relationship that has been riddled with tension will soften and the soreness of the wound will heal. Maybe a young person will come to you and express how much you've mattered in their lives through the years. Maybe someone you love will get engaged and begin the exciting journey towards marriage as did happen to our nephew this past week. Maybe your entire family will gather for Christmas this year, or if not, maybe the Spirit of the Lord will bind your hearts together until you can meet again, as will be the case for us. We have to wait until January to see our families and yet the mercy and grace in that is that we get to go in January. We miss being together at Christmas and yet, we know a reunion awaits us. For many, they never get to return "home." They have left family and friends in their homeland and will likely not return because it's not safe or they can't afford it. Neither is true for us. God has shown us his mercy through providing financial means to travel to the US at least once a year. God has shown us his mercy by allowing us to share in the reunion of family and friends even if it's not quite on the same day that we celebrate Christmas. These are acts of mercy for which I am truly grateful.
Where in your heart do you see God moving, pouring out his mercy? Don't look only for the large ways, but notice the small ways that God, in His great love for you, has poured out His grace in your world and surrounded you with a brand new reason to rejoice.

side note: I changed the photo on The Good and The Bad from Day 13. It's a better shot of Doug and dog and more in keeping with the Christmas theme!