Thanks be to God

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,

The Holy Bible: Elglish Standard Version. (2016). (Eph 1:3). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
Donna and I have a Dodge Grand Caravan that she uses as her daily driver to get kids to school, run errands, and get her to and from work. Not long ago, as her and the boys were walking out the door and heading toward the van on their way to school, the van just stopped. It just quit. The van was warming up, as often vehicles need to be when living in the frigidity of North Dakota, and then it just died.

It had to happen as we came into the most expensive season of the year, Christmas. With all the shopping the season requires (if you’re an American), and with typical expenses due, this was not great news. Anyone who, like me, has to use YouTube and Google to troubleshoot vehicle problems knows that when the van quits, it could be $50.00 or $800.00. Guys like me just don’t know. So there was an immediate element of stress that entered the picture. I started thinking about what I could rearrange to get this fixed and how we could change our monetary plan for the season. 

The second stress point from this was that we usually have two vehicles. Our life; our family functions with two vehicles. So for the better part of a week we functioned with one. This added a lot and at the very least messed up our productivity and put strain on an already full schedule. 

We took the battery out, had it tested, then purchased a new one, which isn’t cheap. Then I put it in the van and it still wouldn’t start. Some friends came to our home the following Monday and got it running without having to buy parts…without having to overpay for someone to simply plug in a machine at a dealership and tell me that I need a new *Insert Large List of parts here and that my flux capacitor is on its last leg. It started running. 

I already had been praying that God would give me strength, wisdom, and patience. Monday afternoon I had a meeting scheduled (that I’d already rescheduled once) for 2:30, pick Wyatt up from school at 3:15, pick Dallas up from tutoring at 4:30 and this meeting was one that I really needed an hour or better to do it justice. So my schedule was not only full but was beginning to look impossible and I didn’t want to reschedule again. I reached out to Donna and came up with a new plan. I would pick her up and she would drop me off for the meeting and pick up the boys then come back and get me after my meeting. With either plan one of us would have a stressed out afternoon. I prayed that God would give me strength. That he would help guide the meeting so we would get done what was needed quickly so I could go pick up our kids. And rather than God giving me patience, peace, and wisdom to get through the crazy moment, he just fixed our van. 

What a blessing and an instant relief that was to us. 

In Luke 2:28 the text says that after many years of anxiously awaiting the advent of the Messiah King he finally sees him in the flesh, scoops him up into his arms and “blessed” God the Father. Only a few verses later (34) Simeon blessed Joseph and Mary with more words. The only person in this narrative that Simeon didn’t bless was the child himself, Christ Jesus, his King. 

All blessing, in heaven and on Earth comes directly from Jesus Christ. He is the source of all blessing. Every good thing you and I have; every thing or person we enjoy in this life and will enjoy in the next, provided we are believers and true followers of Jesus, comes from Jesus. It all comes from him. “In the beginning was the Word”, John said. “Without him was not anything made that was made”. Everything came from and comes from Christ! 

All the way back in the book of Genesis, when Moses is narrating the story of the lives of Abraham and Sarah, there’s a distinct part of the covenant that God makes with Abraham that should be noted. God says that Abraham will have an heir that will become an entire nation, the likes of which had never been known before. He was to become a nation of millions of people. Not only did God commit to making him a great nation but this great nation would be one through which the entire world would be blessed.  That was Jesus. Abraham’s seed did become a nation and it was through this nation, Israel, that we have Jesus, the Christ; the Messiah and Savior of all and the single greatest blessing in existence.

I hope as some walk through this day they will look at, dwell on, focus on , and be obsessed with this blessing that is Jesus Christ. He is the source of all things and even as we live between Thanksgiving and Christmas and as we talk about being thankful and how wonderful it is to give good gifts, I hope we’ll acknowledge the one to whom we owe our ultimate thanks. Some of us will walk through these seasons steadily. Some will run through them and be caught up in the Americanized satanic consumerism that pollutes the truth and importance of this season. To those I say, take your time. Understand what this is about. Look past the Christmas lists and the ugly sweaters and the hot chocolate and know what we’re celebrating and to whom you owe your thanks. 

May the cry that wrenches from the deepest part of our hearts during this season mimic the words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:57 when he says, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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