(photo by Karl Fredrickson)
I left the staff Christmas dinner feeling thankful. Thankful that I work with an amazing group of people, thankful for that Christmas bonus, and thankful that I get to do a job I love. I am blessed.
Those three words, sometimes four if you want to throw in a "so" always rub me the wrong way.
I am so blessed.
I hear this phrase all the time. On Facebook, people post how God has blessed them with a beautiful spouse. Friends will say they are blessed when they get that job they applied for. I will even spout it off without thinking when a listener stops by the radio station and brings me a box of biscotti.
While these things are all wonderful, and that biscotti was especially tasty, I wonder if using the word "blessed" in these contexts is too extreme. Perhaps, blessings are a little more intangible.
When I read the beatitudes, the picture I see of God's blessings isn't someone having a family, or a college education, or a job they love with a Christmas bonus every year. It's something deeper. Something that goes beyond the physical.
Matthew 5: 3-11
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
God's blessings in this passage are not mere things. His blessings come from him, point towards him, and fill us with the peace that overflows from knowing him. His blessings are comfort despite our tears, mercy, satisfaction in Christ alone...
These promises all point towards the hope we have in Christ. That He is making all things new, and that one day we will have perfect communion with Him, and that is far better than a Christmas bonus.
So yes, I do have a lot of things in my life, like that biscotti, that I am very thankful for. I also know that no matter what trials I face in life, even the ones that leave me completely devistated, I can find true comfort and joy in Christ alone. And for that I am truly blessed.