“May the God before whom my fathers
Abraham and Isaac walked faithfully,
the God who has been my shepherd
all my life to this day,
the Angel who has delivered me from all harm
—may he bless these boys.
May they be called by my name
and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac,
and may they increase greatly
on the earth.” (Genesis 48:15-16)
A Blessing for Joshua
On Father's Day, 2010, when he was 12
May God bless you and keep you always. May you know how much he loves you, and how much he wants to bless you, and how delighted he is in your desire to please him. May you lean on him when you're tired and afraid, and may you walk in his strength and run in his power and fly in his grace. May you always find joy in your heart, whatever the circumstances around you.
May you never lose your wonder and curiosity. May you be always learning about the world and people your God has made, and always amazed at each new discovery. May you never grow jaded, calloused, or hardened. However the world may wound you, may those wounds never scar. May you open yourself to love, beauty, and hope, knowing that there is no true substitute for any of them. When you’re temporarily hurt or disappointed, remember that the God of love, beauty, and hope will one day fill you with them.
May you never live in fear. May you be first out of the boat, and never give the waves a thought. May you keep your eyes on the One who walks on the water and silences the wind, and reach out an unshaking hand to take his.
May you grow up to be righteous and true. May your way be clear and your paths straight. May you always love your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and may you always love your neighbor as yourself. And may you be always be willing to accept all people as your neighbor. May you welcome into your home and to your table and into your life those who are unwelcome everywhere else.
May you always raise your voice against injustice and oppression. May you be the first to the side of the friendless, the first to speak on behalf of the voiceless, the first to act on behalf of the powerless. May you have no patience with or tolerance for corruption, deceit, or self-interest, and may you know them when you see them. And yet may you believe that human beings can act out of generosity, selflessness, and altruism -- even though we often choose not to.
May you always know that you are surrounded by a great cloud of witness. May you treat the name you wear with honor and pride. May you respect the great men who have walked the road ahead of you, and may you always walk in their footprints. And may you always be aware that others will follow the footprints you leave. May you build bridges after you've crossed chasms, remembering those who are behind you.
May you know who you are, and may you be comfortable in your own skin. May you be confident in your worth and secure in God's acceptance and love. May you never compromise or give up one ounce of who you are because of someone else's expectations. May you always avoid self-promotion, but never lack for self-confidence. May you be known for loyalty, faithfulness, truth, and strength, and may you pursue those as others pursue money, success, and power.
May you laugh often, with delight and joy. May you learn to say “I love you” and “I'm sorry” often, and never forget how. May your words always bless, encourage, lift, and heal. May they never be fouled with bitterness, sarcasm, cynicism, or dissimilation. May you always say exactly what you mean, and may you always mean precisely what you say. May you measure each word carefully, knowing that God holds us accountable for the damage done by thoughtless speech. May you be known as a person who doesn't say much, but whose words speak volumes.
May you discover that substance is more important than flash, depth is better than width, truth is superior to image, and finishing strong preferable to starting fast.
May you know that guilt has no power over you; Jesus has forgiven your sin. May you believe that evil has no power over you; Jesus has overcome it. May you stand in the hope that death holds no fear for you; Jesus has destroyed it. May you live your life in the power of grace, the victory of good, and the promise of Heaven. May you keep your eye on the horizon, even as you serve the earth. And may you be waiting and listening when you hear the trumpets and see Him coming.
May you be blessed by finding and loving a woman who is “bone of your bone and flesh of your flesh” -- as I was blessed by finding and loving your mom. May you learn to love without expectation or reservation -- and may you be loved in the same way. May you always welcome children, and make them feel important, remembering that Jesus welcomed them especially. May you never be so busy that you cannot take time to play with your children, or listen to them, or share their joy, or quiet their fears.
May you find work that gives you satisfaction, and may you do it with all your heart. May you learn what our ancestors knew but our world seems to have forgotten: that a human being hard at work glorifies the Lord. May you never work one day of your life just to get a paycheck. May you work to bless others, to fill a need, to make the world better. May your work be a calling from God, and may you do it, finally, to please him.
May you never forget how much I love you. Whatever may come between us, may you always know that I am in your corner, and that I will fight for you with my last ounce of energy and speak for you with the last breath in my lungs. You are the best of me, and after I am gone I pray that whatever good was in me lives on in you.
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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, Today’s New International Version TNIV (r), Copyright (c) 2005 by International Bible Society. All rights reserved.