The saying of blessings is a part of daily practice in the Jewish tradition, I learned recently. As Christians are accustomed to say grace before meals, Jewish people say blessings before performing a myriad of other actions as well, from getting up in the morning to eating to following commands such as lighting the Shabbat candles. Such blessings follow a formula and are very brief. A type of spiritual “heads up,” they are a reminder of God’s presence in daily life and that our ultimate purpose is God’s service. In this hectic time before Christmas, when gift shopping and wrapping, baking, cleaning and decorating dominate my days, such a custom seems useful. I composed the following blessings for common occasions of the Christmas season.
Before turning on the Christmas tree — Blessed are you, God of Light, whose eternal radiance is reflected by this Christmas tree.
Upon viewing a crèche — Blessed are you, Incarnate God, who became flesh and dwelled among us so that our eyes, ears, hearts and minds may be opened to your presence everywhere.
Before a holiday party – Blessed are you, Holy Spirit, present wherever two or three are gathered. We thank you for the gift of one another.
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