Here’s a great Christmas verse for you that you might not have thought about. Psalm 23:6. It says, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” I would argue that what 23 houndmakes this a Christmas verse is the comment about God’s goodness and mercy following us all the days of our lives. He’s the “hound of heaven,” As one writer put it. Actually Francis Thompson wrote a poem entitled, “The Hound of Heaven.” It depicted Hosea’s picture of a pursuing God. He will not leave prodigals, wayward sinners alone. We might hide in the dark recesses of a local bar. We might sleek into the pits of electronic sex. We might hide in the illicit romances of actors and actresses, but God’s love will sniff out the bulrushes. His love will cast a light into the dark corners of our lives. He will not give up. Christmas is about God following us all the days of our lives. He wants us back and He won’t give up!

Adeyemo wrote, “…like the hound of heaven in Francis Thompson’s poem of that name, he pursues the nation that flees from him. …God pursues his people in love, longing for them to turn to him so that he can welcome them home, just as the father welcomed the prodigal son (Luke 15:11–32). Hosea recognizes that God’s gracious forgiveness and compassion are the only means by which his people can ultimately be restored to him.

In his work, “A Gift for All People,” Max Lucado writes, “What a surprising way to describe God: A God who pursues us. Dare we envision a mobile, active God who chases us, tracks us, following us with goodness and mercy all the days of our lives? He’s not hard to find. He’s there in Scripture, looking for Adam and Eve. They’re hiding in the bushes, partly to cover their bodies, partly to cover their sin. Does God wait for them to come to him? No, the words ring in the garden. ‘Where are you?’ God asks (Gen. 3:9), beginning his quest to redeem the heart of man. A quest to follow his children until his children follow him.”