When I was a child, on nights when I was having trouble getting to sleep, my mother always told me to count my blessings. When she first gave me this advice, I was young enough that I did not know what she meant by “blessings.” Essentially she told me that blessings were all those people who touched my life in special ways. (In retrospect, that was quite a beautiful and profound definition.) I guess, even then, I had many blessings, and as I was attempting to recall them, I generally fell asleep.
Our God is a god who oozes with blessings. We see this in a particular way when he calls Abraham in the book of Genesis. God’s call to Abraham begins with an invitation: “Go forth…to a land that I will show you.” It is an invitation to walk with God, to walk in faith. Then there is the promise: “I will bless you…so that you will be a blessing.” (Genesis 12:1-2)
Our call is just like Abraham’s: God asks us to walk with Him. If we do, he blesses us abundantly. We then have the grace to be a blessing to others. The blessing Abraham received from God is our promise as well: I will bless you and make you a blessing.
Abraham’s blessings were not about earthly pleasures like financial security, a big house in the suburbs and a six figure income. Abraham’s blessings were about the eternal plan of God and so are ours.
We are approaching that time of year when we celebrate the blessings of a baby boy who has come to free us from all our fears, all our worries, all our pain and from all that hinders us from having a full life. It is a great time to reflect on those people in our lives who are a blessing to us and the ways in which we can be a blessing to others.
In my life, I continue to discover people whom I can identify as blessings, the “blessings” my mother taught me about on those sleepless nights. In my eight years here at Corpus Christi, I have been showered with blessings, people who have touched me deeply from the tiniest four year old to some of our grandparents. It is important for us to realize that these blessings sometimes come through people and in circumstances when we may never have expected it. I had the grace during this past year to encounter someone in a professional setting who has enhanced my spiritual journey and has reflected the very face of God for me. It has been an affirmation in my life of God’s ever-present and unceasing communion with all of us... in us, through us and between us. This is something we sometimes miss.
I have thanked God many times, not only for this unexpected grace mediated through this particular one of God’s messengers, but also for the gift of recognizing God’s blessing that flowed from this person to me. I thank God daily for this surprise blessing.
If you are a recipient of this kind of blessing, God wants to use you to bestow a blessing on someone. Ask for God’s help to see how you can be a blessing to others. It is a matter of receiving and claiming God’s abundant blessings in our lives and with a missionary spirit, passing these blessings on to others. That’s the way God designed it. It was Abraham’s story and it is ours, as well!
Countless blessings have flooded my life from my children at Corpus Christi. Just their presence is a blessing to me. This holy season is a great time to take a long, deep look into your children’s eyes. You will see the blessing; you will be warmed by it and, if you look close enough, you will catch a glimpse of God. Count among your blessings this year, those individuals who have brought you their understanding, their support, their compassion or just their presence.
Count your blessings. Name them. Write them down. Most importantly, pass them on: be a blessing! Give the gift of a blessing to someone this Christmas.