Thursday, December 11, 2014

Belief and Blessing

Blessing--It’s a prayer spoken before a meal.  In our house, it’s a song.  For many, it’s a formality only practiced at Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

Blessings--We’re told to count them. 

Bless--We ask God to bless our nation.  And here in the South we say, “Bless his heart.”  That’s not a remark of sympathy.  It’s similar to, “God, love ‘em.”  Both comments appear to have religious, caring messages; I assure you; they do not.

Blessed--We’re told to “Have a blessed day!”  That’s a nice sentiment; I’m not sure what it means.

We use some form of bless/blessing/blessings/blessed in our regular conversation.  But the Bible has a lot to say about what is BLESSED that goes far beyond our family meals, even our country.

The Christmas story in Luke is a story of blessing.  The chief recipient of blessing is Mary, who is deemed blessed, because she has been chosen to carry the Son of God (Luke 1:42), and because she believes.

Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished. Luke 1:45

Mary certainly stands out in human history is THE, SINGLE, SOLITARY person who has been entrusted with the awesome responsibility and honor of carrying, birthing, and nurturing the Son of God.

But that awesome responsibility isn’t the only thing that earns her the title “blessed.”

She’s blessed, because she believes.  She believes that God will do what God says He will do.

That’s it.  It’s a simple concept; it’s a harder reality.  Blessing comes with belief. 

I’m not talking about health/wealth faith, about belief making you rich.  Mary was certainly not wealthy; she had a baby in a manger!  But she was blessed.

If you believe, then you are blessed.  Do you own that?  Could you sing it out for all to hear like Mary?  Do you rejoice in the blessing of knowing that God is Who He says He is, that He will do what He says He’ll do?  What an amazing blessing—to believe in a God who is faithful and true! 


If you find yourself on the other end of the spectrum, feeling like your beliefs are a burden that produce hardship in your life, then may you find blessing in the Christmas story this season.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Believe


Believe.  It’s the mantra of the season—from the Elf on the Shelf video (that my kids have already seen at least 10 times since Thanksgiving) to the silver jingle bell in Polar Express.  It’s a word that lights up the side of Macy’s in New York.  I’ve seen it; it’s as breathtaking as it looks.

Believe.  Believe in an elf that flies from your home to the North Pole and back every night to report your behavior to Santa, determining your place on the Naughty or Nice lists.  Believe in an elf that lands in another, new, entertaining position every morning.  (I know the elves freak out some people, but Elfie has already curbed the behavior of my 4-year-old in remarkable ways his first two days back at our house, so I’m a believer!)  Actually, Elfie’s overnight adventures are a fun creative outlet for this mom of two.

Believe in a Santa who picks up children from their homes, without parental knowledge or consent, and transports them on a train, again—without permission slips or insurance information (The Student Pastor in me is righteously indignant about these breeches of basic protocol!), overnight to the North Pole.  Believe in silver jingle bells on Santa’s sleigh that you can only hear if you have childlike faith.

Believe in the goodness of people as you support Make-A-Wish at Macy’s, or participate in angel trees and collections of all kinds.  Believe that donating canned soup and gently used coats will make someone else’s Christmas better.

Believe that 2015 will be your best year yet.

Believe.

As I prepare my heart for Christmas, I’m reading Luke in the Bible.  It’s one of the two books of the Bible that includes Jesus’ birth, the Christmas event.  Reading Luke is reminding me of what I believe and why I believe.  I believe that “nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)  

In this first book of Matthew, that declaration of God’s power and providence meant that barren couples could have a child.  I believe that this Christmas.  As loved ones birth healthy babies after months in the hospital, I believe.  As I pray for and cry with friends who have lost babies at 8 weeks and 8 months, with friends who are growing older yet remain unmarried, with friends who face disappointment month after month, I believe that nothing is impossible with God.  I’m heartbroken; I don’t understand; I’m frustrated…and I believe.  

What do you believe this Christmas?



I hope you’ll join me as I dive into Luke to discover and to rediscover who, what, and why I BELIEVE