But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. Luke 15:10
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy! Matthew 5:7
As we’ve looked at gifts both given and received; no list could be complete without mercy. Grace sometimes gets bigger headlines in the Sunday sermons, but comparing the two as if one were greater misses the point. Mercy is God’s forgiveness by which we receive eternal life. Grace is God’s amazing delivery system that brings His gift to places we least expect and to the most unlikely people. (Like me!) I hope my little poem this morning will simply be a reminder that we are each given this day, so that we can pass God’s mercy on to others in a thousand little acts of grace.
It's a pint of blood needed
To someone we don’t know
Or handful of tissues when their tears start to flow
A quiet embrace when their world falls apart
And a light at the door when they come after dark
It's that kiss of forgiveness when we still feel the hurt
Or a check in the mail when they’ve been out of work
Angel songs after midnight when we’re up watching sheep
And a Babe in a manger On a night that's so deep!
Mercy's Gifts by Peter Caligiuri
All rights reserved
Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20 ESV
When I was a young boy I hated moving. It wasn’t so much the packing of my little suitcase or the new address or bed that bothered me. What I struggled with was being the new kid (again) with not fitting in, not knowing where my seat would be in class and wondering if I could make friends. It felt like my life was just one big problem that no one knew the answer for. Now that I am an old guy I still have problems but I have found that I can bring them to God. But today, while I am busy asking in faith for God to help me with my problems and give me blessings; it occurs to me how little I have paused to use my faith to ask for others. What kinds of mountains do the people around me face? I really admire one guy from our men’s group who, always asks His waiter or waitress “How can I pray for you today?” Maybe you and I don’t do that very often because we have been afraid of what people might say, or maybe we have just been too busy with our own problems.
As Christmas nears why not ask for God to help us see into someone else’s world? After all God saw us. He came and to Bethlehem became a part of our world. He willingly chose to be the new kid on the block, to not fit in, to be rejected and to die in order for our mountain of sin to be moved. What mountains are our friends and neighbors facing? Why not give them a Christmas gift of faith and come and be a part of moving their mountains today?
But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:32 ESV
Can you remember a single time in the life of Jesus when he said, “I’ll be praying for you!”? He prayed when He was woken from sleep in a storm and He prayed in the desert for forty days. He prayed when people were hungry to multiply bread and He prayed for God to forgive His enemies from the cross. Everywhere and always Jesus prayed because He knew that His Father was listening. We probably already knew about those prayers of Jesus but did you ever stop to think that Christmas is in fact, the ultimate answer to every person’s prayer. God heard and He sent us His Son.
Prayer is also the greatest gift we can give to anyone this Christmas, every needs Jesus and anything is possible when we pray. Those who feel alone can experience His presence; He came as Immanuel – God with us. For friends who have lost their way, the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem answers their prayers for forgiveness because He came as God’s sacrifice for sin. For the friends or family who feel life is very dark with this pandemic, He is the light of the world.
For those feel week, He came as to be our strength. For those of us who know we have done things wrong and hurt others, Jesus shows Himself as the friend of sinners. no matter our need, Jesus is the answer to our prayers . What greater gift we could give to someone else is there than to be able to honestly say “but I have prayed for you”