Remembering God’s ‘peculiar mercies’ at Christmastime

With Christmas just around the corner, I am reminded of the very personal ways in which God has acted in my life over this past year. Remembering these actions, I have discovered, helps me to appreciate afresh His most personal action of all: God sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem a sinful and fallen world through His sacrificial death on the Cross.

The Creator of the Universe wrapping Himself in flesh and coming down to earth as a vulnerable infant, to straighten out the mess we created for ourselves. It’s such a mind-blowing concept, I can barely begin to wrap my mind around it. But when I see God acting in the details of my life, who He is and what He has done – and continues to do – for me becomes that much more personal, that much more accessible to me.

I refer to the personal ways in which God acts in our lives as “peculiar mercies.” Peculiar here has two meanings: “strange or unusual” and “specific to an individual.” A peculiar mercy, therefore, is anything God does in your life that is uniquely tailored to your needs, circumstances, personality, etc., and which may sound a little strange when you try to explain it to someone else.

Granted, sometimes a peculiar mercy doesn’t sound that peculiar when you share it with another person – the parking spot right next to the grocery store entrance when it’s raining, the expensive scarf you want to buy as a Christmas gift for your spouse going on sale, the job offer that arrives just as your unemployment benefits are running out.

Other times, explaining a peculiar mercy to someone else sounds downright odd. It might be a certain song coming on the radio at just the right time, a Bible verse that keeps cropping up in unexpected ways, or something a friend says that particularly resonates with something God has been communicating to you.

Regardless of its level of peculiarity, receiving a peculiar mercy leaves you with a greater understanding of and appreciation for God and His character – His constant presence, His perfect timing, His deep love for and knowledge of each of His children, and His unparalleled sense of humor.

May God bring to mind the peculiar mercies He has showered on you this past year as you prepare for Christmas.

– Teresa Santoski

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