I have been attending many Christmas musical events this season and they have fed my waiting Advent soul. One Christmas prayer service in particular was profound in its message. The art on the cover of the program was titled “Tender Mercy” and is done by Robyn Sand Anderson. Her written words were equally profound and she said, “Tender mercy. Those two words came to me the other night, when I wondered what I would write for this Advent blog. I let the beauty of those two words wash over me as I said each word with a pause after, so as not to rush the beauty that lies within them. The tender mercy of our God”
I am always interested and open to try something so I did what Robyn did, I let the beauty of those two words wash over me too. I imagine you might be curious about what happened. It took a while for my busy thinking brain to calm and be receptive to “Tender Mercy” and then there it was…Mary’s tenderness, Joseph’s acceptance and born into his life Jesus’ tender mercy for each of us. This led me to reflect on what we have been experiencing and witnessing; children separated from their parents at the border, the growing divide between each other and the increasing hate and violence. Hunger and homelessness, judgment of others and separating ourselves from each other, “Tender Mercy”, how does it resonate with you?
The God of our understanding does not leave us, it is we who walk away and then are always welcomed back through God’s “tender mercy”. The God of our knowing is forgiving of our human behavior and mistakes. Even with the painful and unloving things we have witnessed, God does not abandon us. Jesus’ birth is the living presence of God and God’s love is manifest in the person of Jesus. We are the eyes, hands and feet of Jesus, we are the body of Christ. Jesus is never far from us. We encounter him in the poor, the immigrant, the homeless, a co-worker, our neighbor or family member.
This Christmas be watchful, notice where you can be God’s presence of “Tender Mercy” in a conversation, in someone you encounter in a store, in your family, even while driving, Imagine and notice the gifts we all have been given, especially our natural resources, our diversity and our beliefs and in the brilliance of the light Jesus brings to our world. “Tender Mercy”. Take time to let those words wash over you and pause between each word. This Christmas season be the light of Jesus and let this time be more than celebrating His birth, it is a call to each of us to say yes to the call to bring tender mercy to our world. As Robyn says, “God promises we are not alone in this, but that God’s Light is in, under and over us as we seek to speak a word of love, mercy and justice “ in Jesus’ name be the mercy, justice and love this Christmas season and into the New Year.