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Summary: Sometimes it requires faith to endure our blessings

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Title: Faith to Endure Our Blessings

Text: Luke 1:26 – 38, 48 – 56

MP: It takes faith to endure our blessings

FCF:

Sometimes it requires faith to endure our blessings.

If that sounds odd, maybe it is because we do not fully appreciate what it means to truly be blessed. It is easy to assume that blessings mean houses that are full of family, trees overflowing with gifts, and bank accounts that will recover come January. But those are simply the trappings of success. Let’s face it, we rarely think of the Christmas bonus as a blessing – it is nothing more but one more thing we think we’ve earned.

No, blessings are completely unwarranted. There is no path to blessing. It is merely the fortunate result of God’s desire to deem us fortunate. Often that takes traditional forms. But not always. I wonder how blessings come wrapped not in gold paper but pink slips.

I can now say that one of the biggest blessing of my life so far was being “separated” from Coopers & Lybrand many years back. I doubt many of us would want a pink slip wrapped up in a pretty bow, but I can see now how blessed I am by being set free from that treadmill.

I had worked there for over seven years. In one two month period I had been promoted from associate to senior associate to manager. And, I was earning good money. My clients liked me. And midway through that job I even married truly the best woman that God ever fashioned.

Maybe that was the problem – I realized that as good as that job was: Susan was better. I no longer wanted to work the 200 hours per two weeks that I did not once but on three separate occasions in a two month period. In the first six months I was married, I spent 19 days not in Detroit. That Christmas, I received a Christmas card not from the generic Marriott hotel chain but rather from the Detroit Romulus Marriott itself. After Christmas was over and I was back in the hotel, the woman who delivered my room service remarked – I was wondering where you had been. It’s been a week since someone ordered the Caesar salad and a jug of lemonade.

If that job was a blessing, it was one that I could not indefinitely endure. And so, when I got that pink slip, I recognized it for what it was – it was truly a blessing from God. Two months later I was in seminary. Seven months later I was working at a higher salary and half the hours in my current job. I had been suckered into thinking that God couldn’t bless me more. Oh was I wrong.

Blessings are not things that necessarily make you happy – but they are things that show you are fortunate. They show that you have received a good thing from a good person whom you will never pay back. But do not assume that good and happy have to go together. In this Christmas season, we are in a time of blessing – but if you limit yourself only to the happy, you may be missing out on recognizing the great gifts your father has already given you.

In this morning’s text, we have just such a situation. Mary was a young girl – probably only about 12 years old. Last week, Emma All read the part of Mary in the Middleburg Canata, and I caught myself thinking, you know – Mary probably wasn’t much older than Emma. She was a young girl, and she was about to blessed beyond belief.

But I have to wonder, if I had been Mary, could I have endured such blessing? Understand that the Bible is perfectly clear – Mary was a young girl who had never had sex. And yet, somehow, she got pregnant. Now I believe wholeheartedly in the virgin birth. But understand this as well: Gabriel only ever told two people about this – Mary and Joseph.

I think Homer Simpson [Season 17: Christmas Stories] nailed what must have been Joseph’s reaction. A pregnant virgin? That’s every man’s worst nightmare!

As far as anyone else was concerned, Mary was just another unwed teenage mother. For anyone other than a member of the Britney Spears’ family that’s pretty much a one-way ticket to poverty and a permanent space in last place.

If that had been me receiving the news, the word ‘blessing’ would not have been the first off my lips.

But you know – there’s something about Mary. She really is blessed among women. Indeed, when we’ve been there 10,000 years, our King of Kings will still only call one woman ‘Mom.’ With those eyes, and only with eyes, can we really see how much of a blessing that little baby was.

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