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Gold, Mercy and Franklin  

The holiday we call Christmas is now in the rear view mirror.  Said another way, it’s a mere 362 days away.  Better get shopping!  Or not…


Our daughter and son-in-law do a terrific job of underscoring the Advent season.  Every night, they pull out a gorgeous rendition of the Christmas drama titled The Advent Book, which features fold out “doors” on every thick page each revealing a key scene in the biblical account of Christ’s birth. 


The book is passed around to their kids (who have now mostly memorized the whole story).  They delight in opening up the doors on every page revealing artwork and Scripture that propel the narrative along.  


We were privileged to be with the kids for several readings and observed five-year old Caleb’s interpretation of the visiting magi.  Like the rest of the kids opening the rest of the pages, he was anxious to demonstrate his mastery of the story.  With grinning certainty he catalogued the gifts given to the holy family: “gold, mercy and franklin.” 


We chuckled quietly, then observed at least two other occasions that Caleb insisted on mercy being one of the three gifts (“franklin” was later correctly modified to “frankincense”).  Intriguing that he swapped the gift order around, placing mercy right next to gold.  


Gold is an obvious gift. I’m not sure where the “Franklin” fits in.  But I do know we could all do with a little more mercy. And not just at Christmas. 


What if this year you were known as the most merciful person in your entire family? What if you were the most merciful person at your office?  What if this year your town initiated a Medal of Honor for displays of uncommon mercy—and you were the nominee?


Wouldn’t that be something?  It would.  It would also be expensive.   It might cost you a kind word to someone whose politics you despise.  It might cost you your quest for revenge over an injury decades old that still stings.  It might cost you an outrageous gift to someone you secretly feel is undeserving. 


Mercy is always expensive.  Ask Jesus.  “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”

   —Titus 3:5


Christmas is over.  The New Year is upon us. 

Let mercy begin.  


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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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