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Luke 1:57-58 John the Baptist is born

Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. Her neighbours and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her..

Mercy - Walton United Church, Oakville, Ontario

When we read of God’s mercy, we often think in terms of forgiveness and clemency, but that is only part of the picture. God’s mercy can also be understood as the loving kindness of God that sees into our hearts and responds to our needs. This is the mercy that God showed to Elizabeth – an awareness of her prayers and deepest longings, fulfilled with love and compassion. Importantly, God’s mercy does not require us to meet any criteria and is not offered as a reward. Instead it calls us to a loving response of gratitude and thankfulness. So, like Elizabeth and her neighbours, let us rejoice for our God who sees into our hearts and responds to our needs.

Merciful God, You hold us close and love us with a faithfulness and endurance that we cannot fully understand. Thank You God for seeing into our hearts and recognizing our needs, even without us expressing them. Thank You God for the healing and compassion You provide for us, in so many unexpected and undeserved ways. Amen.

Thank you for joining us on this prayerful path through Advent.
Blessings and best wishes for 2019.


Through God’s love, all is forgiven. Zechariah’s first words, after having his speech restored (see Tuesday’s reading), are to praise God and tell us that we are saved. Our sins are forgiven and God’s love is ready to shine through our lives.

Dear Lord, merciful Lord,
Forgive us when we fall silent and turn away from your presence in our lives. As we receive your love and forgiveness, give us the courage to share your good news, so that your light may shine further to those still living in darkness.

Luke 1:76-79

63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.”

76And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
      for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77to give his people the knowledge of salvation
    through the forgiveness of their sins,
 78because of the tender mercy of our God,
    by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79to shine on those living in darkness.
    and in the shadow of death,

to guide our feet into the path of peace.”