Jul. 8, 2015

A Blessing On Your Head, Mazel Tov, Mazel Tov!

“Having somewhere to go is home,

Having someone to love is family,

Having both is a blessing.”

In our family we take blessings seriously. When each of our Simon grandchildren, Nicole, Blake and just this past week, Luke, reached the age of 18, a blessing party was given in their honor. Family, friends, teachers and pastors were asked to write a blessing expressing their hopes, dreams and expectations and then to come together to read them aloud to the blessingee.

There is food in abundance, laughter, joy and God’s presence hovering over the gathering. The moment of Jesus’ baptism comes to mind from Matthew’s gospel, “....the heavens were opened and the Spirit of God descended as a dove, lighting upon Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” We realize that while Luke is most certainly a child of the King, he’s not THE child of the King! But that same feeling, “this is our beloved son, in whom we are well-pleased,” filled the room.

We passed along his Aunt Crissy’s blessing, sent by email from Texas: “I am thinking of you on your blessing day and so close to your birthday and holding you close to my heart. My prayer for you this day and every day is for a sense of fulfillment; for a feeling of closeness to those you love; for confidence and enjoyment in all that makes you special to others, and for a deep and abiding peace within. May God keep you in touch with all that you are and all that you are meant to become.”

His Grandpa John’s blessing:“1. Love God. One of the most important things Jesus did while here on earth was show us how God wants us to live our lives. This is because there is no greater joy than loving God and serving him. If you do this, you will have a very blessed life

2. Love Others. Jesus told us the greatest commandment was to love God with our wholeheart, soul and mind. The 2nd greatest commandment was to love our neighbors as ourselves  (neighbors meaning more than just the people next door). Let me tell you this is not an easy commandment to keep, but it is what Jesus wants us to do.

3. Speak kindly to others. This includes your mom and dad, brothers and sister, and yourfriends. When, at the appropriate time, you get married, and have your own children, speak kindly to your wife and children. Even when you are angry at someone, carefully choose thewords you speak. You can never retract something said in anger.” He also mentioned gratitude and forgiveness and ended by saying, “I pray that you will always be a follower of Jesus, not just a fan.”

My own blessing, which touched upon his already successful career as an actor: “Every part imaginable is ahead for you, Luke, so many roles to play, but the role we most want to see you play is that of a follower of Christ. A man of God, upfront about his faith, careful about the roles he chooses. You really can look to the Bible for guidance and motivation in dealing with performing this job in a way that is biblical, that pleases God. No matter what we do, God calls us to a different standard of working as a Christian.”

There were so many heart-warming, life-affirming blessings spoken last Sunday, by his parents, his Grandma Margie, his friends, his sister, many of his teachers. His Aunt Leah used the words from Fiddler on the Roof, “A blessing on your head, mazel tov, mazel tov!”

These blessings and words of love and affirmation will all be put into a book for him to keep forever. They are still arriving at his home as more and more friends who love him return from vacation. When those moments in life come to Luke, as they come to all of us, when the future looks bleak, he can turn to these words for encouragement and a renewal of hope.

What can we do for our children that is better than this? God the Father showed us the way...     “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”