“From one generation to another he shows mercy to those who honour him”.
Lk 1:50 GNB
So many things change. Driving through his boyhood countryside an elderly visitor to England from abroad noticed that there were no longer any fields of potatoes. He had picked potatoes there as a schoolboy, but change had come – even in the prevailing agricultural crops. New towns and suburbs spring up. Old landmarks disappear. Methods of transport come and go. In the English city of Leeds where there were once tall black chimneys marking the textile industry of two hundred years ago, those chimneys have gone and modern new office blocks have taken their place.
Slow as change was in Bible days, it still happened, usually due to wars. But as Mary sang her hymn of praise to God (known universally as “the Magnificat”) she knew that one thing didn’t change – that was God and his mercy. God was enduring beyond the ravages of time and the changes in human fortunes. Earthly empires might rise and fall, emperors come and go, customs, systems, organizations grow and wither, governments prosper and perish, but the mercy of God goes on and on.
And that is what Christmas is all about. God in his mercy has come to this planet as a tiny and vulnerable child. He has taken our flesh, sang our songs, breathed our air, and suffered our death in order to express in human form the mercy of God who in his grace forgives our sin. He comes to welcome us home like long-lost children and to renew us in obedience, hope and service. The Psalmist in the Old Testament had said, “His love endures for ever” (Ps 136:1 NIV). Mary knew it and sang about it. You sing about it too .
Lord, let me never forget your ongoing mercy.