In Real Life

New Year celebrations give everyone an opportunity to reflect on the year past, as well as hopes for the one going forward. It is a time to count our blessings and wish well to others we encounter. Offering a blessing transcends cultures and time. Blessings come in many shapes and sizes. Some say “have a blessed day” or “be blessed” as a departing phrase. In southern United States, “Bless your heart” is commonly known phrase. So common that it has become a joke because of its routineness – and yet, southerners embrace it as part of their identity. Perhaps the joke is misplaced as routineness grips us all.

What then does it mean to offer a blessing?

As we transition from one stage to the next, God invites us to use his guidance.

In the wilderness, while waiting in anticipation for the promised land, God asked the Israel’s leadership to bless the people. The blessing in Numbers 6 is likely the best-known and used. It is a prayer requesting God to make his presence known, to protect, be merciful, and provide health and calm. In it, the divine name for God is used three times. Perhaps the most important thing being communicated is that the LORD is our source of all blessings, past and future.

God wants us to wish well to others in his name. Who can you bless today?

In this time of transition and reflection, remember to thank God for all he has provided last year, and look forward to his presence with you going forward. And, the next time you offer a blessing or receive one, remember this prayer.