Some words from John Calvin to meditate on this season, which for us should be a season marked primarily with thanksgiving:
“For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.” Luke 1:49-50
“If our hearts and minds were truly stirred by the thought of God’s particular gifts and mercies to us, we would most certainly be led further, to the point where we would praise him overall for his power and goodness.” “When, however, we are dealing with God, thee is nothing about Him which does not humble us in the presence of his transcendent majesty, and which does not testify in some way to his glory. His power, wisdom, infinite kindness, and righteousness are brilliantly displayed both in heaven and on earth. God’s name will always be holy. Only our ingratitude stops us giving the honour he deserves, and our ingratitude will not go unpunished.”
“All of us, I repeat, must not only praise God for the good things he has given us and for the blessings he has poured out on us; we must also take a longer view, and observe the evidence of his kindness on every hand, so that our mouth may always be open to glorify him. This should also be the mark of our common unity. We prove that we are true members of the church when we rejoice in our neighbor’s prosperity, just as we ought to show sympathy when they suffer trouble. For whoever rejoices in another’s prosperity is at the same time led to glorify God. This is the proper way to apply Paul’s injunction in the first chapter of 2 Corinthians: ‘Let thanks from many lips be given to God when good is done to any of his servants.’ “
“We can thus be sure that God’s goodness is always open to us, and that He will not cease to guide us both in life and death, until he has accomplished our salvation. This is because God cannot be defeated. his purpose is constant: always he continues to do good for us, for his generosity knows no bounds, and his gifts and graces are without repentance, as Paul assures us in the eleventh chapter of Romans.
In order to share in God’s gifts, we must first begin with the promise he holds out to us. We must lay hold of it by faith, and allow it to take firm root within us. For only through faith can we remain obedient to God and walk in his fear… The fear of God which Mary speaks about here is the fear that keeps covenant with God.”
“The fact that God takes and chooses instruments at will does not undermine our claim that it is he who does all things. We humans, however, are so wicked, that whenever we see lesser means operating we assume that God is idle in heaven! And we are so mindless that when our hunger is fully satisfied by the bread that comes from the earth, we do not have the wit or wisdom to look up and give God thanks!”
May we be drawn to walk this Advent season with wide-open eyes and grateful hearts. This is the only response for all of those who have seen Him, the Son of God, in the Garden of Eden, in the Wilderness, in Bethlehem, on the Cross and in our daily lives reigning with glory.