December first is here… November is gone. Now the Christmas countdown is on! Before we dive into that, let’s pause and look at something from November– and not just ‘no-shave’ November. Some people spend November discussing all that they are grateful for through a Facebook campaign called ‘30 Days of Thankful’. A great idea, if you ask me; you are asked to write something(s) you are thankful for each day.
Though I have not participated, I have watched many others and it is wonderful to see how thankfulness changes a heart. So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7. When the focus is shifted from ‘me’ to things and people around me for which I am grateful, there is reason to ‘overflow’ (as Paul says).
Well, I am entirely thankful for a Savior- from a helpless baby to a beaten man, a God who had a merciful plan from the beginning and a Spirit that is constantly with us, bringing us the Word of Life.
I was reading in Matthew and there was a verse that stood out to me (9:13)- Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees, and he sates this But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.
Mercy and thankfulness have a common theme in that the focus is turned from the self to others. Mercy by definition (Merriam Webster online) is “1. kind, gentle, or compassionate treatment especially towards someone who is undeserving of it 2. an act of kind assistance 3. the capacity for feeling for another’s unhappiness or misfortune.”
Countdown to Christmas (a very secular notion) coincides with the season of Advent. A time, as followers of Christ, to prepare our hearts and minds. A time to reflect on our shortcomings. A time to be aware of our undeserving nature. Advent is waiting. Waiting on mercy.
December, for me this year, will be a countdown of Mercy. Each day I will think of a way to be merciful or humbly recognize a way in which I need mercy. I will try to post something to Facebook daily until December 25. If Jesus desires mercy (and he has shown such great mercy to me), then I shall try to follow that model and offer mercy. Feel free to join in this Countdown to Christmas
Awaiting mercies new each day,