Are you looking for that perfect gift for someone on your Christmas shopping list? Allow me to suggest a gift-giving idea that won't cost you a penny!
Take a stroll with me to the bedside of a dying father in the Old Testament by the name of Isaac as he was about to give this free gift to his oldest son, Esau.
The name of the gift - - The Blessing.
In keeping with the custom of the day, parents in the Old Testament set aside a special day to give The Blessing. On this special day, the parent spoke words of love, high value, acceptance, and words that painted a bright future into their child’s life.
And so it was, Esau had been summoned to his dying father's bedside to receive The Blessing from his father. However his brother, Jacob, had deceived their father into believing that he was Esau, and Isaac had already given The Blessing to Jacob. Unfortunately, custom also said that once the blessing was given, it could not be revoked; it stood that Jacob should keep the blessing that was intended for Esau. When Esau realized that Jacob had received The Blessing he should have gotten, he cried out: "Oh, haven't you saved even one blessing for me? Oh my father, bless me too!" (Genesis 27:36)
Can't you just feel the anguish Esau must have felt:
• "Please bless me, too!"
• "I want to know you love me!”
• "I want to know you value me!'
• "I want to know you accept me!"
• "Tell me that I have potential with a bright future!"
A Family Tradition is Born
Several years ago, I read a new slant on the story of Esau in Gary Smalley’s book entitled, The Blessing. Gary pointed out that the unfulfilled longing that Esau felt is still being heard by people that we may be rubbing shoulders with every day: a family member, friends, church members, neighbors. Many are crying out as Esau did: "Do you have one blessing for me?"
Gary encouraged readers to find ways to implement this Old Testament ritual today. I immediately felt the nudge from the Holy Spirit to follow through, starting with my immediate family.
It occurred to me that one of the gifts that my husband and I should give our married daughters and their husbands for Christmas that year should be “A Blessing Journal.” But, I also knew that it was not to be a one-time gift; it should be something we should do each year at Christmas time as a way of speaking words of love, high value, acceptance, and words that painted a bright future into their lives for the up-coming year.
So, I approached my pre-believer husband with the idea, downplaying the Biblical principal, of course. My conversation went something like this:
“How about we begin a new tradition this year? I would like to buy a journal to give to Crystal and Tim and Heather and Hoit as one of their Christmas gifts. I thought it would be nice if each of us wrote in it how much we love and value them, as well as write words of encouragement for their future. We then would ask them to bring the journal back the following year when we gather for Christmas, and at some point during the day, we could slip off to a quite corner and write more words in their journal for the up-coming year.”
He agreed to the idea, and a tradition was born. Our “kids” love it, and eagerly bring their journals back to our Christmas gathering each year for Mom and Dad to bless them for another year. Though we had always tried to show love and encourage them in their endeavors when they were growing up, it was now time to make sure we included their spouses. Also, I felt that there is something about seeing encouraging words in writing that is a blessing within itself, as well as a keepsake for years to come. (To save time, my husband and I have carefully planned out and written down the words that we want to say before we meet with our family, and then transfer them into the journal for them to take home with them.)
My Smite friends, why not create ways to give someone on your Christmas list this year The Blessing---friends, church member, neighbors, or maybe even start your own family tradition of implementing it each year.
"It is the perfect gift, and it won't cost you a penny!”
Merry Christmas from my family to yours,