His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. …
Christmas renews the promise of God’s mercy. We could all use some mercy about now, couldn’t we? In the midst of the hurts and illness and unrest of our world, God’s mercy flows over us like cool, life-giving water. Jesus’ birth was a gift of mercy. God saw our need, how lost and hopeless humanity was, caught in our own web of sin, blind in the darkness. He saw what we couldn’t actually see ourselves: that without a Savior we would remain spiritually lost forever. God saw our need and had mercy on us. Jesus came with good news, died to pay for our sin, and rose again to open the door to heaven. The divine mercy that saves us also gives us hope for little, daily mercies along the way of our lives. The mercy of comfort through sorrow. The mercy of financial provision at the moment of need. The mercy of a fellow believer to listen and encourage. The mercy of fellowship that breaks through loneliness.
God offers his mercy like a Christmas present, wrapped and waiting for us to accept. He extends mercy to “those who fear him,” not forcing it on us, but holding it out through the message of Jesus, inviting those who desire God’s goodness to receive it. We might wonder why anyone would reject God’s love or walk away from the offer of new life in Christ, but the truth is, people say no to God all the time. One reason, as stated here, is human pride. Sometimes, we want to believe we don’t need God. We are strong and smart and capable on our own, so why accept help from anyone, especially a God we can’t see or touch? Pride tells us we don’t need God’s mercy. Those thoughts may define the heart of an unbeliever, but sometimes, they also flow through my heart, and probably yours too.
Will you admit your need for God’s mercy today? Will you confess that you are not strong enough or smart enough to carry your burdens? Will you stop trusting your own ideas and abilities long enough to pray for God’s mercy to lift you up? It takes humility to receive mercy. We first have to say, “I am in need. I am lost. I am weak.” And we need to reach out and accept the gift of mercy God offers. The good news, made certain by Jesus’ birth, is that our God delights in showing us mercy. He goes out of his way, even to the extent of being born as a little baby into our dark world, so He can offer mercy to people in need, like you and me.
Father, I need Your mercy. I am not able to carry my burdens or fix my problems without Your help. Thank You for seeing my need and offering to care for me with Your mighty arm. Teach me humility to accept Your mercy, through Jesus my Savior. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian