When my husband Rick and I had our first child dedicated, we received a book as a gift from Hope Church. In The Family Blessing, author Rolf Garborg wrote about the daily practice of blessing his children before bedtime using a benediction found in Numbers 6:24-25. As my husband began to read the book, he said, “I’m going to do this.”
Through their early years, our three sons, Sam, Joe and Jake, heard their father say every night, “Go, get ready for bed and I’ll come and give you ‘the blessing.’” Once they had climbed into bed, Rick climbed the stairs, went to each one’s room, put his hand on their foreheads, said each one’s name and then,
“May the Lord bless you and keep you,
May the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
The day’s last event was a consecration of a father placing his blessing hand upon his children. Whatever the day had brought, the blessing prayer closed down the day in the gentlest of ways and re-placed our sons into the safe and loving arms of God.
This is the last image Jesus left His followers before He went to Heaven, too.
Luke 24:50-51 (NCV) tells us that Jesus “led His followers as far as Bethany, and He raised His hands and blessed them . . . and while He was blessing them, He was separated from them and carried into Heaven.”
Not only did Rick’s blessing realign our belief that God held the infinite power to bless, but also, “the blessing” felt like a cloak of protection, that everything was in God’s hands while we were away from one another.
In the summer of 2011, I had the privilege to meet Rolf Garborg’s son Carlton at a coffee shop. I told him the story about how his father’s book impacted our family. He couldn’t speak for a few minutes. The space between ― the memory of his father’s many “blessings,” and of ours, in the reading of his father’s work and then putting it into practice ― met in a holy moment that only those who have given or received “the blessing” could.
Recently, Rick prayed the blessing over Sam and Hallie at their wedding reception on November 23, 2013 and over Joe and Anna at their wedding on February 8, 2014. And no doubt, the giving of the blessing will continue if and when God brings us grandchildren.
If you are a parent, I encourage you to practice giving the blessing to your children. Your children will never forget it and each night you do this, you will realign yourselves to the knowing that our children ― no matter how long we are earthly near them ― are truly a precious gift from God, the Father of all blessings.
Lord, we thank You, that You have given us Your Word, that we may use it to bless others. Amen.