The Secret Blessing

I painted in the dark once. Blindfolded.
But before I get to that, let’s go on a little journey. 
A few years ago, in my senior year of high school, I began a tradition I have now continued each Christmas season. The tradition is simple -- it’s a commitment to “doing Christmas” intentionally. 
In the past four years since, I’ve built a rhythm where I begin thinking about Christmas in November and brainstorm ways I can bless God and others in this season. I am not speaking about finding people the perfect gifts, though it sometimes involves gifts. Nor am I speaking about doing the perfect things. (After walking with God for quite some time, I’ve learned He really is just after our hearts anyways.)  
I am speaking about the posture I want to take when it comes to Christmas. How do I want to live each day? How do I want to start my mornings with God? How do I want to be in my interactions with my family and friends? 
So, I’ve chosen to step into the things that enrich this season for me-- like painting, pondering the virgin birth, being still, reading His Christmas story, hanging out with friends, sending meaningful cards, etc. And I’ve said no to things that don’t -- like excessive cellphone usage, distractions, and excessive spending. 
But, one of my favorite traditions to do? I call it the “Secret Blessing.” 
(Actually, I just made that up right now but I do think the name will stick).  
 Friend, I am about to let you in on one of the best God-secrets I have. 
Four years ago, I was growing to trust God more than I had ever trusted Him before. I was in a season of finishing high school, applying for the future, and sitting in a lot of unknowns. I yearned to know the future just so my anxiety would decrease. Yet, God, knowing best, transformed that year of my life into an Ebenezer of trust. 
On Christmas Eve, I was speaking with the Holy Spirit mentioning how I wanted to bless Abba Father but wasn’t sure how. I asked the Holy Spirit to keep it a secret as best as He could from the Father and Son (obviously the LORD knows all but I am a child at heart so just go with it). I remember clearly getting an impression of me in my art room in the pitch black, painting. “What??? You want me to paint in the dark??” I was so surprised I think I actually said that out loud while I was at my church’s Christmas Eve service. “Yes. And I will be with you.” I heard the Holy Spirit say back.  
It was definitely out there but I knew what I needed to do. I did not tell anyone but I went to “bed” after the service only to sneak up into the art room a few minutes later. I ended up turning off all the lights, blindfolding myself, and randomly picking through my mixed-up paint bottles. I grabbed a few knowing all too well that if I grabbed black, the painting would be over. My anxiety was high but my hope was higher. I began to pray “Lord, I am blind; be my sight. Lord, I am willing; make me Your vessel.” 
(Oh friend, how many metaphors! Just recalling the story brings tears back to my eyes.) 
I poured paint on my hands and began to rub them all across the canvas. I broke out in laughter and rejoiced at how sweet the time was. I remember singing and praising God. I asked Him to make something beautiful from the canvas. 
I washed my hands in the dark, removing any trace of paint so that I would not know the colors we chose. 
                                                                                       ~  ~  ~ 
The next day I woke up so excited to see the Secret Blessing. I raced upstairs and when I saw the canvas of colors we created, I burst out into tears and fell on my knees in worship. “My God, My God, how amazing You are!” I had never seen such a beautifully blended background for a painting I could not even see when it was happening. But My God sees when I do not see. My God moves in ways I do not understand. My God still brings color out of darkness. 
After my family’s Christmas morning, I knew the way to complete the painting! I added a simple tree and a phrase that states “let the unknown remain unknown until they are known,” something the Lord spoke to me a lot in that season.    
And thus, the Secret Blessing was birthed. 
I have not painted in the dark since and I am not quite sure I ever will again but the same intentionality and childlikeness I had four years ago I carry with me each Christmas season. 
There is so much more I would like to say; however, I will just leave you with this: Jesus is worthy of our celebration.

He is good.

He is amazing.
He is Wonderful.

He is life-giving.
He is our Savior born to us.

He is love.  
 He is God.
How will you celebrate Him this season? 
Author | Samantha Richey





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