“I will bless you…” God’s pronouncement to Abraham was the theme of the Advent meditation I read recently from Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas. Her words were both life-giving and challenging during this month that should be all about quiet hearts anticipating Christ’s advent, but for me is way too often fraught with a frenetic December pace where life feels heavy and undoable. She writes,
“But the weight of everything melts like thinning snow in the heat of His words: ‘I will bless you.’
…He will bless you—the God of invincible reliability, the God who has infinite resources,
the God who is insistent love.
You can always go ahead and breathe—He will bless.
You can always breathe when you know all is grace.
That is the order of grace…
The personal blessings envelop you first.
Then you are a blessing sent to the world.
You will be experienced as a blessing—
to the extent you have first experienced yourself as blessed.
You must feel the fullness of your own pitcher
before you trust the pouring out of yourself.” (page 40)
And this is where the message intersects with VBS ministry. To be a blessing and pour ourselves out in ministry to children through VBS, we must first feel—know deep in our soul—that we are loved and blessed by our God. Then we can “trust the pouring out” of ourselves to bless our VBS kids. So I encourage you to take to heart Ann’s encouragement this Advent:
“…slow down to feel the wind.
Listen to the carols just a little bit longer.
Linger in the quiet and taste the grace of now,
and know that He is good and He is God.
Name them in the moment
—gift upon gift upon gift—
and listen for the echo in everything:
I will bless you.” (page 41)
If we can do that now, and in the weeks ahead as we approach VBS time, we will be able to minister out of Christ’s fullness and be the blessing that will penetrate the hearts of our VBS kids!