The gift of a Valentine blessingby Cheryl Markland
On Valentine’s Day we normally buy candy, cards, flowers and gifts to show love to special people in our lives, but this year I challenge you to consider a unique gift for your child – the gift of a blessing. Jewish tradition includes a Shabbat “Blessing of the Children.” Each child is specifically blessed every Friday evening with a gentle touch and a call for God’s blessing on their lives. A blessing affirms a child’s worth and value to you and to God in either spoken or written word. It states what is hopefully the obvious – that you love your child and want God’s best for him or her. In John 3:16 we read that God demonstrated His blessing to us through the gift of Jesus as an act that says we are loved and worth sharing His very heart to bring salvation to us.
As you consider blessings for your children, picture a special future for them as men and women of God. Let them know through your blessing what your hope is for them as they live out God’s will for their lives, much as God offered a blessing to Abraham as the father of His people. Reinforce the godly traits you see in your children: their compassion, the ability to relate to others or a passion for God’s Word. As you prepare the blessing, draw a mental picture for yourself of each child’s future in God’s Kingdom. Assess what you are currently doing as a parent to make this a reality in the lives of your children. Consider if there are priorities and decisions your family needs to rethink so that following God’s will in the life of your family will be clearly demonstrated to your children.
Take time to write down this blessing and read it to each child. If this is a new experience for you and your child, it may feel a bit unsettling at first. Take time to savor the moment. Offer the blessing as a valentine that reveals your deepest love and desire for your child. Enjoy giving the gift of a blessing without expectations of how it will be received. Although the reception may be mixed, know that this gift will become one of your child’s greatest treasures.
If you give the gift of blessings to your children, let me know about your experience at firstname.lastname@example.org. May God’s blessing be on you and your family!