A friend of mine always responds to inquiries about herself with the response, “I’m blessed.” Another friend, when we depart from one another, says, “stay blessed.” Another friend of mine has a bumper sticker that reads: “Too blessed to be stressed.” These friends are all Christian and African American, but the concept of being and feeling blessed crosses ethnicities and faiths. The state of being blessed takes on many meanings resulting from a combination of secular, Jewish, and Christian concepts. It’s fitting that we use the word blessed to mean extremely happy, serene, and fortunate. Being blessed often results from someone who cares about us, loves us, or wants good things for us. I’m prone to refer to a good thing that happens to someone as a blessing. Being blessed involves love. The deeper the gift, the deeper the love. When God blesses us, however it happens, we tend to want to tell someone close to us about it. Whenever something extraordinary happened to me, I knew I should tell my parents first, so I did. And yet, I had an elder friend named Joy whose counsel I often sought and whose opinion I cared about deeply. She knew me so well she could usually predict what I would say. Perhaps, like Elizabeth, the Spirit rested on her and informed her of the holy thing that happened to me. Mary hurries to Elizabeth’s house after the angel Gabriel visited her with the good news that she will bear God’s son. Filled with the holy spirit, Elizabeth bears witness to the sacred in Mary. Elizabeth recognizes Mary as thrice blessed: blessed by God’s favor, blessed with and by Jesus, and blessed in her belief in God’s prophecy fulfilled by her. What I notice about this reading, now that I spent some time with the word blessed, is that the Magnificat is Mary’s response to her cousin’s exclamation three times that God consecrated Mary as sacred and holy. How much did Elizabeth’s proclamation of Mary’s blessed nature inform Mary’s response? These thoughts reflect the power of reading and rereading scripture, listening to others read it, reading it on your own, reading it aloud—each time, God has something to tell us. For me, these recent readings revealed the importance of people who love us and contribute to and bear witness to our blessedness. God loved the world so much that he sent to us his blessed son. God blessed Mary to bring Jesus to the world. As we wait for Jesus with an expectant spirit, add blessed to your thinking and your self-talk. Do you mean fortunate or sanctified? How does it change how you see yourself?