Have you ever considered saying blessings for the New Year over your children individually? There’s a passage in the Bible commonly referred to as the “Faith Hall of Fame.” This passage, found in Hebrews 11, is a roll call of patriarchs and saints lauded for valiant faith and perseverance through extreme trials. In the midst of these heroic tales, two of the five main patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Moses), are praised for one very simple action… blessing their children!
By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to the future. Hebrews 11:20
By faith Jacob…blessed each of Joseph’s sons. Hebrews 11:21
That’s it. It’s what put these famous patriarchs onto the same list that includes Abraham (willing to sacrifice his son), Joseph (endured persecution), and Moses (held the Ten Commandments & performed incredible signs and wonders).
Proclaiming a blessing on our children by faith must be extremely important to God, on the level with those other feats! So, to begin this New Year, we encourage you to individually and personally, bless each of your children!
We have made a practice, in the Jackson home, of proclaiming blessings on our children. We do this by making lists for our kids of ways we saw them grow in God’s love and plans for their lives. Each list was about a page long and included simple statements like:
- You chose joy through difficult trials.
- You handled a hard relationship with grace.
- You have strong ideals and work hard to live by them.
- You have worked hard at keeping a good balance of school, friends, and spiritual growth.
We then set a special time to read the lists. As our children grew older, they continued to love hearing these blessings of affirmation. One even asked for an email copy so he could print it on nice paper and frame it. Even through their various challenges as young adults, the kids still embrace these values. We know that this kind of activity can only serve to sharpen children’s spiritual growth. So we invite you to do this with your kids as you launch into 2020.
Consider how your child has grown in the last year, even if the growth is in independence, assertiveness, or other ways that may have made parenting more challenging for you. Then tell your child during a special time together or, better yet, write it in a keepsake letter and read it to them. Here are some questions to help you formulate your thoughts.
- What have been some difficult challenges my child has had this year? How has she gotten through them?
- What Biblical character trait(s) developed in my child, and what Biblical references are attached to those traits? For example: When has my child demonstrated sincere faith through trials, kindness, diligence, helpfulness, etc.?
- At what has my child worked hard or shown leadership?
- What is my child passionate about? What makes him excited? Even if it’s not my favorite activity, what is an element of it that could be used by God to bless others?
Wherever your child is on the range from toddler to young adult, this blessing can be something that will be a treasure to all of you as the years go by. You may enjoy this so much you’ll want to make it an annual tradition to proclaim blessings for the New Year over your children. Call out your kids’ passions, God-given gifts, and faith as you seek to bless your children.
If it feels like too much of a stretch, to write out a blessing for each child, consider the practice of blessing your child when he or she leaves the home each day, or as they go to bed each night. Just a short prayer with your hand on their head or shoulder can be just what your child needs to feel secure in your love and God’s love. Read this article for more.
Even if you didn’t receive blessings from your own parents, you can rejoice in knowing that God strongly proclaims blessing over you. Many parents experience God’s blessing more deeply for themselves as they bless their own children! As you bestow encouragement and blessings for the New Year on your children may you be more encouraged to lead your family with grace in 2020.
(To learn more about the importance and power of blessing your children, we highly recommend reading the book “The Blessing” by John Trent and Gary Smalley.)
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