A Blessed Christmas (Matthew 5:3-12)
The word blessed gets used a lot during the Christmas season. You can hear the words, “Have a blessed Christmas”, “We have been blessed this year”, “God has blessed us”, “May God bless you and yours”, and etc. What do these people mean when they say these things? I suppose you would need to ask each time you hear such phrases, because all people are different. I would like to briefly explain what I mean when I say that I have been blessed this past year.
It has been a blessing this year to realize more and more how I am unable to save myself, unable to keep God’s law, and unable to attain perfect holiness. I have been blessed this year by God revealing personal sins and causing me to mourn over them in light of His righteousness. I have been blessed to learn that I am not in control and that I can trust God even when things do not go my way. I have been blessed to have a godly hunger and a godly thirst for righteousness this past year. It is such a blessing to be absolutely satisfied and yet to be hungry and thirsty every day. It is not that complicated. I get my food and drink from the same source and He always satisfies. I have been blessed to practice showing mercy to those who do not deserve mercy. Every time that I am able to show someone mercy I am reminded of the mercy that I have received. I have been blessed to experience living with a heart that is bent towards God. It is such a blessing to preach for God, teach for God, study for God, serve for God, and to worship with the single pure motive of exalting the great God of heaven. I have been blessed to abstain from arguing in the flesh, seeking to win my desires over and against what other may desire, and to genuinely seek to live in peace with all men. I have been blessed to be cursed, maligned, oppressed, ridiculed, and even made fun of at times. I have been blessed beyond measure to be isolated, ignored, and taken for granted this past year. It is times like this that help me to identify with the Lord and know that I am walking on the right path. It is so easy to drift over to the wide path, but all these blessings that I have experienced this year have helped me to stay on the narrow path.
Blessed is a word I will use for this past year, but it is a word that I will use in its Biblical context. Blessed does not necessarily mean I have more money, more friends, more people joining the church, more days of good health, but rather for me, it often means losing people I love, having my heart broken as I watch my children struggle, grappling with the realities of aging parents, and simply wrestling with the difficulties of daily life. These are the things that are truly blessings in my life. I am blessed, because all the adversity and struggles of my year have caused me to see my Savior more clearly, understand Him more thoroughly, and to love Him more genuinely.
In case you still do not see the blessing, let me say it another way. If my past year was filled with more money, more stuff, 100% health in everyone I know, no death of friends or family, no hurting children, no suffering, and no discipline; I would end up living without need for God. I would become worldly, self-centered, prideful, arrogant, and worst of all, I would be distant from the God I love. The blessings I have experienced have driven to God and His abundant mercy, not away from Him into the shallowness of carnality.