Luke 1:39-45 (NIV)

“The Paradox of Blessedness” is a significant insight, which William Barclay writes about in his Commentary on the Gospel of Luke.

Mary visits her relative Elizabeth. Both are expecting an important child; Elizabeth, John the Baptist and Mary, Jesus. Led by the Holy Spirit Elizabeth speaks twice about Mary being blessed. We read, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! Then she says, Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!

What does it mean to be blessed in this sense? There is the tremendous joy of being the mother of the Son of God, Jesus, who brings God’s grace and salvation to all the world. There are many blessings in believing the Lord God. Yet there is also deep sorrow involved in faith. There is the suffering of Jesus dying on that cruel Roman cross. The calling of God is not an invitation to a life that is easy or comfortable. There is the cost of carrying the cross as one lives in faith. And so, faithful people experience great joy and profound sorrow.

Blessedness is both a joy and a challenge. Although there is a crown of glory, there is also a rugged cross. Angels announce Jesus birth, yet the Savior is born in a stable because there was no room in the inn. When Jesus calls us to follow him there is joy and purpose but there is also challenge and suffering as we become one with Christ Jesus. We see both in the Christmas story.

Prayer: Mighty and loving God, we thank you that you have blessed us in many, many ways through Christ. As we remember and are grateful for your blessings, help us to also endure the hardships and suffering, which come for all who seek to follow the Lord Jesus. We make this prayer in the suffering Savior’s name, Amen.