There’s nothing quite like invoking holiness as a way to brag about your life. But calling something “blessed” has become the go-to term for those who want to boast about an accomplishment while pretending to be humble, fish for a compliment, acknowledge a success (without sounding too conceited), or purposely elicit envy. …NYTimes, They Feel ‘Blessed’ by Jessica Bennett*
The overuse of the word has all but stripped it of its meaning.
Today I’m thinking about what it means to be “blessed.”
#Blessed is a popular hashtag! We use that word often – saying a blessing before a meal, the comment, “bless your heart,” that may or may not be complimentary, blessing those who sneeze. As the New York Times noted a few years ago, the hashtag is often self-promotional! But how does God use the word?
The Greek word translated blessed [in the New Testament] is makarioi which means to be fully satisfied. It refers to those receiving God’s favor, regardless of the circumstances.Key-Word Study Bible
Advent is the season for seeing, experiencing the good news of the gospel, and experiencing God’s blessing. Jesus is the fulfillment of one promise after another starting with Abraham, a promise that Abraham would receive a blessing and be a blessing to the nations. Jesus is “the” blessing to all humanity – in Him we have life! In Christ, we have every spiritual blessing.
As Elizabeth and Mary greet one another they exclaim blessings! Zechariah’s first words after God took his speech away were words of blessing. When Mary and Joseph take the infant Jesus to the Temple, Simeon blesses the family.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”Luke 1:41 – 45 NIV
And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David–Luke 1:67-69 ESV
And [Simeon] came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God —Luke 2:27-28 ESV
Being blessed has to do with being in a covenant relationship with God. Being blessed means living within the boundaries that God has given us – living according to His law! We see this same concept reiterated in the Psalms!
Blessed is the one … whose delight is in the law of the Lord,Psalm 1:1–2 NIV
and who meditates on his law day and night.
Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart—Psalm 119:1-2 NIV
To know and to do God’s will is to be blessed!
While in society being blessed often refers to prosperity in some way, scripture says being blessed is all about the prosperity of our souls, experiencing God’s presence fully in our lives! The only reason we can experience God’s presence fully in our lives is that Jesus came at Christmas … for you, me … for all the world!
Father, every desirable blessing comes from heaven. Your blessings are rivers of light flowing from your throne, your Kingdom of Light. Your Son is our greatest blessing – He is our redeemer, savior, friend, and brother. Without Him, we would be destitute. We glorify and praise your name for your bountiful blessings to us! Amen.
If you want to read more about Zechariah’s story in scripture, check out this link: