Paul writes: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3) In the opening chapter of his letter to the believers in Ephesus he reminds them that they have been chosen, adopted, accepted, redeemed and forgiven according to the riches of His grace. In Him we a promised inheritance, the sure hope of heaven, sealed by the Holy Spirit who guarantees our inheritance. It's no wonder Paul offers words of thanks and prays that these believers would know Him better.
We are richly blessed in Christ Jesus!
Beyond the rich spiritual blessings we have in our Lord, we have also received many physical blessings; a measure of health and strength; a warm place to live, clothes to wear and food on the table. We have been given so much!
I was thinking about this as Janice and I did some grocery shopping in preparation for a Christmas dinner we will share with our family. Our pantry is full, our fridge is full, we have more that enough and it's all a blessing from our good and gracious God.
The Bible reminds us that everything we enjoy in life is a gift from God; life itself and all the earthly blessings we enjoy -- that we enjoy in abundance in the land in which we life. May we not take these blessings for granted; may we find within us a desire to gives thanks to the One who is the source of all blessing and may we be a people who give generously to bless others. You've heard me say this often before but it is still true, especially at this time of year...we have so much opportunity to do good.
As you enjoy the company of family and friends, as we gather as His church in the coming days, may your heart be encouraged as we celebrate the coming of our Lord and the joy that is our to be 'in Christ'.
For those who will experience feelings of both joy and sorrow because there is an empty chair around the table, may the memories of those who have gone before us bring to you a measure of joy as you give thanks for the time shared with them and for the hope that is our in Christ. (One day, we will meet again; and as we say so often around Valley, 'what day that will be'!
May you be used of God to bring a smile to someone else who needs a word of blessing and encouragement, be it a family member, friend or neighbor or the a stranger who crosses your path.
May we all have those quiet moments when we pause and reflect on the blessings of the season.
Merry Christmas, everyone!