I remember as a little girl being bright-eyed with wonder at the candlelight service on Christmas Eve. The dark sanctuary filled with families and neighbors and sweater-clad strangers standing shoulder to shoulder — waiting. A single flame started in one corner. A tiny flicker in the dim expanse. Then the glowing wick from one candle would touch the waxy tip of the next and the flame would pass.
At the same time, the soothing melody of Silent Night rose from one voice. The crowd joined in. Silent night, holy night. All is calm, all is bright. I waited anxiously, twirling the white candle between my palms. I loved being part of transforming the darkness, of passing on the source of warmth.
One by one, each person dipped their lit candlestick forward to bring light to the next person. The flames quickly multiplied as one became two, and two became four, and four became eight until all five hundred worshipers were reached.
I look back through my mind’s eye and see my six-year-old freckled face aglow with Christmas awe.
Thirty years later and that scene still gets me. How we, the body of Christ, the church, have the joy and privilege of gathering in celebration of the greatest gift ever given because of Christ’s body — the Son of God turned human infant, born to live and die in love and sacrifice. Yet our purpose as believers is not only to gather but to respond, to help spread the Light.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, but this picture of Christmas is at the forefront of my mind. Today we conclude our #1000mercies movement in support of Mercy House Global. At the time of writing this post, together 718 of you have given $28,735 to help provide dignified jobs for women rescued from devasting poverty off the streets of Kenya. You guys, this is incredible!
When I listened to (in)courage cofounder Stephanie Bryant’s recent interview with Mercy House Global founder Kristen Welch, part of me honestly felt completely overwhelmed. I cannot fathom the brokenness, the despair of a woman’s life where survival prostitution is the only choice. It pains me to imagine a reality where babies die from starvation if not from forced backseat abortions.
But hearing Kristen’s story of how Mercy House started and the work they are doing also filled me with a whole lot of hope.
One candle makes a difference in the darkness. One spark has the power to multiply and impact hundreds of lives. That is what we’re doing with #1000mercies. It’s an invitation to pass on the light. Alone, our reach is small. But together we can light up the darkness. Together, we can bring hope to the hopeless in tangible ways in Jesus’ name.
We set out with a goal to get 1,000 women to take part in this mission. We still have a ways to go. But the day is not over. If God is stirring your heart, will you join us? If you donate $15, we’ll send you a hand-stitched ornament made by a Mercy House Global artisan as a reminder of how providing a dignified job is Christ’s mercy in action.
Visualize it with me: A dark sanctuary lit by 1,000 flames. One thousand women from the (in)courage community standing shoulder to shoulder. God’s daughters making a difference together.
One of our greatest gifts is linking arms with sisters in Christ. #1000mercies is an invitation to do this today.
Next Thursday, after my belly is full of turkey, I can’t wait to decorate my Christmas tree. I will hang my felt nativity ornament on an evergreen bow with a prayer of thanksgiving for Mercy House, for the woman who stitched my ornament, and for each of you.
Want to learn more about the Mercy House story and how your donation will bring light to a dark place? Watch this.Together, we can bring hope to the hopeless in tangible ways in Jesus' name. -@beckykeife on #1000mercies: Click To Tweet