GM: CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT MERCY
As the song says ‘ It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas’. This with the ads on TV, the fresh crisp cool air in Jamaica and the wintry conditions in the Northern climes. Along with the Christmas carols, the already packed malls, and grandchildren with their ‘ wish lists’.
There are very few people in our part of the world who do not get excited by Christmas. Even wars in the past have been temporarily put on hold because of this Holy Season; and now in Jamaica an important Election has been ‘ postponed’ until the season is over.
What’s the magic? What’s the Power? From whence cometh, quo vadis, this Joy and Peace?
Families coming together! The Carols! The Christmas Gifts! Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer! Santa Clause! Grand Market night, when on Christmas Eve, at least in Jamaica, for in the USA the shops close at 6:00 pm, people are up shopping and just ‘ being on the road’, until the wee hours of morning.
Maybe all of the above for some. But in the eyes of the Lord, its all about Mercy! And having received mercy, we are to have mercy on others. Just like John the Baptist, as was prophesied by His father Zechariah in the magnificent words of The Benedictus which opens with the grand words:
‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel:
for he hath visited and redeemed his people.
And hath raised up a mighty salvation for us: in the house of his servant David….
‘ And thou child, shall be called the Prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
To give knowledge of salvation unto his people; for the remission of their sins….. To give light to them that sit on darkness, and in the shadow of death’…Luke 1.67-79
How did I get there? Reading a meditation by CHRIS TIEGREEN on The Good Samaritan in Luke 10
……When we read this (story) as a moral instruction and decide which character we ought to emulate, we naturally avoid the portrayal of the indifferent priest and Levite and want to think we are more like the Samaritan. ….
But eventually God makes us look deeper at this parable and see it as a striking picture of our world. In the big picture, our race had fallen into the hands of robbers; and left for half dead. We have been ravaged by the wages of sin and we suffer.
This parable is not just a lesson on what to do, it’s an illustration of what has been done for us ( in Christ Jesus)….. God shows us which character we really are. The answer He reveals is humbling. First and foremost, we are not the priest, the Levite, or the Samaritan. We are the victim.
Then comes the observation that triggered this message.
Everyone who has ever really known Jesus by faith has first known helplessness. We once lay beside the road and hoped someone would stop. He did. He was our good neighbor. By God’s design, this should have been the beginning of compassion for us – we don’t just become merciful by thinking of others in need, we become merciful by experiencing mercy. When Jesus spared us, He gave us a sobering command: Go and do likewise. vs 37.
The Samaritan in the story looks a lot like Jesus. So should we.
Comment: It cannot be coincidence that last night I watched Spike Lee on CNN discussing his soon to be released movie Chi-Raq with Don Lemon. A movie which makes the point as I understood it, that what’s happening in Chicago with black on black violence – they executed a six year child recently – and other ‘ hoods’ is comparable to the war in Iraq and the trouble ISIS is causing.
And when we think about Jamaica and #QuadrupleMurder we appreciate the comment by Tiegreen that ‘ our race had fallen into the hands of robbers…and left half-dead’. When we think of people undergoing severe financial distress and suffering from life threatening illness and ‘ depression inducing’ family problems “Violenceagainstwomen we begin to understand the enormity of the problem confronting the human race on account of Sin.
And into this world at the first Christmas came God in Christ. In love and to show Mercy! And we being ‘ delivered out of the hands of our enemy Sin and Death’, on Calvary, are called to show mercy’ to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow if death’.
That’s the Christmas that I know. The other things are great. Love the Carols. Love the Season! But Mercy is at the heart of it!