12 Days of NIGHT PRAYER for Christmas

When do the Twelve Days of Christmas begin?   They begin Christmas Day itself, leading us to TWELFTH NIGHT, the eve of Epiphany, January 6.  Through these dozen days, Night Prayer will focus each evening on one of the many gifts we've received from God.  Tonight: the gift of mercy...
On the eighth day of Christmas,
the good Lord gave to me:
    Mercy after mercy,
    New Year beginning,
    Hope for tomorrow,
    Friends as good as gold,
    Faith in God above,
    Angels sent from heaven,
    Shepherds keeping watch
    And a Child born in Bethlehem town!
Of all your gifts, Lord,
    the one I least deserve,
    the one I cannot merit,
    the one I cannot earn
    the gift I need the most
        - is your mercy...

I need it the most, Lord,
    because I need it so often!
I fail to love as you call me to love
    but in your mercy, 
        you forgive me...

Then I fail again to love as you ask me
    and again, in your mercy, 
        you pardon my sin...

And then yet again, 
    I fail to love as you call me to love
and again and again and again,
    you forgive me, Lord, and wash me clean,
        as fresh and bright as the new fallen snow... 

In the new year ahead, Lord, make me grateful
    for the mercy of your never-ending mercy!
Let me never presume on your kindness
    or take your mercy for granted!
Make me always grateful
    that in spite of my foolish and selfish ways,
        your mercy waits always to welcome me back
            to the warmth of your strong embrace...
And send your Spirit, Lord, to move me to mercy:
   mercy in my words, mercy in my thoughts,
   mercy in my deeds, mercy in my stubborn heart,
   mercy in my attitudes, mercy in my gratitude,
   mercy in my grudges, mercy in my resentments,
   mercy in my outreach to the poor, near and far,
   mercy in the way I live with family,
   mercy in the way I see my enemies
   mercy in the way I deal with strangers,
   mercy in the way I show my mercy...
Help me be merciful to others and to all, Lord,
    as you've been merciful to me, for your mercy is 
        sweet and refreshing,
        restoring and healing,
        gentle and calming,
        strong and compassionate,
        unfailing and faithful,
        unending and fruitful,
    the gift that opens my heart to faith,
        my faith to love
            and my love to hope...
Protect me, Lord, while I'm awake
and watch over me while I sleep
that awake, I might keep watch with you
and asleep, rest in your peace...
His Mercy Is More 
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