Family Blessings

“Then Joseph removed them from Israel’s knees and bowed down with his face to the ground. And Joseph took both of them, Ephraim on his right toward Israel’s left hand and Manasseh on his left toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them close to him.  But Israel reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim’s head, though he was the younger, and crossing his arms, he put his left hand on Manasseh’s head, even though Manasseh was the firstborn.

Then he blessed Joseph and said,

“May the God before whom my fathers
    Abraham and Isaac walked faithfully,
the God who has been my shepherd
    all my life to this day,
the Angel who has delivered me from all harm
    —may he bless these boys.
May they be called by my name
    and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac,
and may they increase greatly
    on the earth.””

-Genesis 48: 12-16

My wife was born and raised in Brazil.  She lived there until we were married, then she moved to the United States.  Her family came initially from the country, but over time they moved to a small city on the outskirts of Sao Paulo.  Brazil has a history rich with traditions, yet as western civilization encroaches on the country, many of their traditions are starting to vanish.

There is one tradition that is still carried on there, particularly among the older people who grew up in the rural areas, that for me is beautiful and full of meaning.  When my wife travels home to visit family, and see’s her father, she goes to him and asks for his blessing, and he will respond by saying “May god bless you!”.

Unfortunately, asking for and receiving parental blessing is beginning to fade in Brazil, and soon, it will be like most of the west where it is mostly non-existent.

For the ancient Hebrews blessings were engrained in daily living.  They asked God to bless everything.  In the homes of Jewish and Torah Observant Christian families, parents still pass on this blessing to their children every Friday night as part of the sabbath. 

As I contemplate this weeks reading from Genesis, I find myself thinking about my own children.  What would it mean to both them and myself if I bless them?  How would it change the dynamic of my relationship with them, and our relationships with God?  Maybe it is time I take that step and revive this tradition in my own family,

As I conclude, I want to thank you for being here and allowing me to share my thoughts with you.  I pray that you will be blessed and that other will be blessed through you.

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