Listen to: 4Him's "A Strange Way To Save the World"
With Christmas around the corner, endless last minute errands to run, presents to buy, cookies to bake, parties and concerts to attend, most of us are probably burning the candle at both ends. To assess how we’re spiritually holding up, let's choose between two simple questions. Am I presently:
Too blessed to feel stressed?
· Too stressed to feel blessed?
The root of the word “blessing” in Greek is to make long or large— so when God extends his benefits to us, we are blessed Our spirits are enlarged to take in all God has to offer. In the crush of our daily activities, we forget that God daily extends his blessings to us. Everyday we wake up to new life. Most of us have the blessing of a warm house, transportation, food, planned activities throughout the day, family and friends with whom to talk.
Even so, blessing doesn’t depend on the circumstances in our lives. How big a bank account we got. How many Christmas cards we write. How many presents we wrap. Not even how many people we can fit around Christmas Eve dinner table, or stockings are hung by the chimney with care.
Blessing comes with the challenges. Jesus preached it as he saw it in the beatitudes (Matt. 5:1-12; Luke 617-49): people in difficult circumstances who are open to God’s grace are better off than those who are well-off and care free but whose lives are devoid of God. This is why Mary, the mother of Jesus, could sing, without pretense, “from now on all generations will call me blessed.” She didn’t seek out to become pregnant. She didn’t relish the lingering rumors or stares she garnered after Joseph took Mary home as his wife, after she was found to be with child. Mary was blessed because she was open to God’s call of grace on her life. She said yes, despite all the inconveniences, changes and heartaches, as well as wonder and joy it would bring her. That is what blessings do for us.
God blesses us to enlarge our lives so we prosper – spiritually, in our relationships, financially, emotionally and health-wise. So-blessed, we can deal with whatever challenges that come our way. We can negotiate the hustle and bustle of the season and prioritize what to do next and what can wait so we don’t burnout.
The key to remember is: God’s blessing is not reserved for a few special people in the Bible. God blesses you - this very moment. All you need to do is stop. Breathe. Say, “Thank you, God, for your Almighty blessing on my life.” Let blessing flow through you. Let it make enlarge your worldview so you can bless those harried shoppers who bump into you, who honk at you and cut you off driving home. Let blessing so enlarge you that you give even more to those in need this year. Let blessing so enlarge you that you help someone else who is lonely or lost during this Holy time. Let blessing grow, like the Christ Child grew in Mary, and give birth to abundant new blessings throughout this sacred season.
So. Once again. Ask yourself: Are you?
· Too blessed to feel stressed?
· Too stressed to feel blessed?
Prayer: God of Jesus: Enlarge and open my heart to your blessings. Make my life a blessing in this world. May I be a blessing to others, may my life so richly blessed that others may see and call me “blessed.” Amen.