Recently, I was contemplating the lyrics to some of the Christmas songs that get batted around on all the music stations these days. In “Hark the Herald, Angels Sing” there’s this line that resonates every time I hear it, “Peace on earth and Mercy, mild – God and Sinners reconciled.” This year, it seems to be more poignant than ever.

Earlier today, I jokingly asked a friend what he wanted for Christmas and he said “peace on earth” – and I replied, “We’re not in a beauty pageant here.” But it’s interesting to me that there needs to be a peace – a reconciliation kind of peace, not a “no fighting” kind of peace. Reconciliation has been something I’ve had on my mind much in the last few days.

My most recent post regarding me behaving badly and hurting people around me caused for a pretty traumatic fear that I had destroyed something precious to me and that there was not going to be a way to repair it. That was not the case, because the gentle spirit that was harmed through my enormous selfishness was precisely the embodiment of the second phrase in this little excerpt. This uncommon person was indeed, “Mercy, mild” in the flesh towards me, which is far better than I deserve. But the beautiful thing about this kind of merciful response to hurt was that, along with my contrite and profuse apologies, there was reconciliation between us. Rather than see destruction of something good, I found peace and rest in what I knew would continue to be a relationship even more treasured. And that, my friends, was not because of me. It was all about the mercy extended to me when I least deserved it.

Romans 5:5 is one of those verses that highlights how Christ does the same thing for us. It’s a sobering verse really, because it reminds us that Christ became our sin in order to save us – even while we were His enemies. It’s that kind of love that brought Him here to “lay His Glory by” and be “born that man no more may die.” While we were yet sinners, he died for us. While we were still enemies of God, undeserving of any semblance of mercy, grace, or even understanding – He suffered and died for you and I. That, dear ones, is more than uncommon, it is extraordinary. While my gentle-hearted friend exemplified extraordinary grace and mercy towards my reckless hands and there was a restoration of things between us, greater still comes the restoration from our Father by way of our Savior. Saved. Restored. Reconciled. All out of love, a greater love and care than any human can display towards us. All because of Perfect love.

It is this love that wrecks me. It is the kind of love that leaves me speechless and completely baffled. There isn’t anything quite like experiencing reconciliation. There’s a release, a sigh of relief – like you’ve been holding your breath too long under water and you’ve finally come up for air. I love how God gives us small views of His love through extensions and shades of Himself in human experience. I believe that real forgiveness is indeed a divine thing – it is the full embodiment of what Christ did for us on the cross. Interestingly, I believe that had I not even offered multiple apologies, my kind-hearted friend would have still forgiven and continued to grace me with his presence in my life. I think God is not unlike that. Even when we continue to push back against Him, and continue to sin against His heart, still we are graced with His love & presence.

Oh How thankful I am for this reminder just a few days shy of Christmas. The words of the old carol “Hark the Herald, Angels Sing” will ring a little truer for me this year and likely, every year from here on out. God never fails to make each Christmas season more precious through common life and uncommon people around me. My heart, today & this week, overflows with a good theme, and I rejoice that Christ loves the way He does, that He laid His Glory aside for me so that I can be reconciled. I’m also thankful for the uncommon and extraordinary people I’ve been graced to have in my life. My precious Savior - He loves me that deeply and every day, I fall more in love with Him.


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