It must have been interesting to sit on a hillside in Israel. To feel a light breeze as the words of Jesus carried over the hillside. To feel a spark of anticipation. Jesus was going to say something profound. Something incredible. Everyone had been buzzing about what a great teacher He was, how deep his insights were. Some said he was the Messiah. The Messiah! The one that would redeem Israel. Yes, this man revived hopes and dreams…and then…He said something weird. Something unexpected. Something counter-intuitive.
Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are they that mourn. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.
(Not blessed are those who have found a good and godly husband/wife. Blessed are they who get a nice house in the suburbs, put up the best Christmas decorations, throw the best parties, make the best dishes, and give the best presents….and sing like angels.)
Not that any of that isn’t blessed or good. I’m the happy beneficiary of some extremely talented people who’ve spread a lot of joy and cheer by their parties and food. (Mmmm Cheeseballs.)
It’s just that humility, mourning, and hunger…is not exactly fun. Why, then, is it blessed?
Because it is only satisfied in Christ.
If you are entering the Christmas season and you’re lonely, know that you are blessed. Your unfixable circumstance, the great void in your heart, is a homing beacon for the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He is close to the broken.
If you’re lonely, then you and Jesus have a lot in common. If there was ever anyone who could honestly claim that no one understood what He was going through, it would have been Christ. There’s a reason why He is called the “Man of Sorrows.”
If you’re lonely, your spiritual senses have been sharpened. In the practice of fasting, someone goes without food and then, when they feel the hunger pains, they turn it into a prayer, a prayer of longing for God. They take the physical longing and transform it to a spiritual longing. While your loneliness may not be self-imposed, it’s still like fasting, it’s still a desire that can be transformed into a spiritual longing. And God is more than eager to meet you in that empty void, and bear it with you.
And, often, when I’m that position, He turns me around and points to someone else…someone I’d never suspect…and as I watch them, somehow I know, I just know they need a word of encouragement.
Blessed are the lonely…for God uses empty vessels.
And although, it feels at times like no one sees or understands, the reality is that this physical world is just part of the story. Although on earth there wasn’t much of a celebration being thrown for the birth of the Savior of the world, (Mary and Joseph were outcasts after all) there was a multitude of heavenly hosts heralding the event.
The actions you take may not ever be noted or recognized here on earth, but you better believe, it’s never missed when you glorify the King of Kings and Lord of Lords with your life. Nothing is wasted.