To Bless–Pastor Tony

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Tomorrow is the eve of one of the grandest miracles of all time. Eternity will not be enough time for us to consider even the slightest glimpse of the grandeur of the idea that God almighty became a baby.  Oh, how wonderful a thought.  Lean in brothers and sisters. 

As we seek to celebrate this vast miracle, each of us, in our own way, are seeking to bless our loved ones (I may or may not be still seeking gift ideas for Julie). It is a native desire of this time of year. We find ourselves proclaiming to loved ones, with Bing Crosby, “…May your days be merry and bright.”  Our language even shifts to a version that would make King James proud, singing, “God bless ye merry Gentlemen!” 

We see this time of year as a great opportunity to “bless” those we love.  

How is that endeavor going for you? Are you blessing those around you?  Are you blessing those you love?  

For many in this generation, the idea of blessing someone is strange – not that we feel it would be strange to bless someone, but rather, that we have no idea what it means to bless someone. We wonder, how in the world do I “bless” someone?  Is giving a gift the way we “bless”?  Is hugging a way to “bless”?  

I’m really glad you asked those questions.  Sometimes “Christian-ease” or ultra-spiritual language can be devoid of meaning because of how often it is used (or even of how rarely it is used – Just ask a millennial what a “noël” is!).  

So, back to our question (stop searching on your ‘smart’ device, “what does noel mean?” and be attentive to the other question at hand).  What does it mean to bless and how can we bless one another?  Let’s allow Scripture to light our path.  Consider with me one of the moments when the Bible speaks directly of the idea of blessing.  

In 1 Kings 8:54 we are told that Solomon, after building the house of the Lord, stood and “blessed all the assembly of Israel.” After 7 years of construction and at the conclusion of a prayer over the Temple, Solomon stood before the people of Israel and blessed them. It was the proper activity at such a moment. This was a big moment for the people.  It makes sense that he wanted, at that time, to bless the people.  After God’s Temple is created and recognized as complete, a blessing is a natural conclusion.

With this in mind, it makes “blessing” all the more natural to us – this time of year. We see in Christ the perfect Temple in that Bethlehem-born Baby. At his inauguration, in his humble human form, one would expect blessings to flow.  And just as we would expect Solomon to bless the congregation at that landmark moment, so too we have come to expect blessings to go in every which way during this time of year.  

But that still doesn’t answer the question of how we bless one another.  

What is absolutely profound about this 1 Kings text is what we see in verse 56.  Verse 55 tells us that he blessed the people and verse 56 tells us how.  Let me simply quote the text so you can see its profundity without my scurfuffled language.  

55“And he stood and blessed all the assembly of Israel with a loud voice saying, (get ready – here it comes) 56 “Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to His people Israel.”  Did you catch that?  We bless each other by blessing the Lord. Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, wanted to bless all Israel. So, he turned to the Lord and proclaimed a blessing unto the Lord!  In other words, the way Scripture tells us to bless one another is by proclaiming praise unto God. 

The Body of Christ is blessed when Christ is worshiped. Your family is blessed when you are praising Jesus. When you are proclaiming how good Jesus is – that is when we truly and Biblically bless our loved ones.  

No gift we can give is worth more than a simple proclamation of praise unto Jesus Christ.  

In Luke 2:13-14 we see the penultimate (that’s a good word) blessing.  Think of the unimaginable blessing given to those shepherds that night when they were in the presence of the heavenly hosts.  The angelic host proclaimed loudly, “glory to God in the highest…”  The shepherds were blessed because “a multitude of heavenly host [were] praising God” in their midst.  

May there be a host of believers who, today, are proclaiming “glory to God in the highest” in the company of an onlooking world.  It is in that proclamation that we are able to eternally bless the world around us.  So Christian, worry less about the things we give to one another and hide not your praise to Jesus.  

This year let your presents be a proclamation of praise unto to Jesus in the presence of an onlooking world.  

All Glory unto Jesus Christ, 

Pastor Tony

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