Alert to blessings

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When my friend Laurel asked me to be part of her Advent blog, Toward Christmas, I was delighted to accept. On these 24 days of preparing for Christmas, six of us are reviewing the Jesse Tree characters of Jesus’ story. One of the characters I chose to write about was Jacob (I think it was the ladder that made me think this would be a fun poem to write). The challenge was also to write this in prose poetry.

I read and re-read Jacob’s story (Genesis 27 & 28) before getting an idea. It came when I saw THREE. Jacob was blessed, not once, twice, but three times. Immediately I thought of folk and fairy tales, where things always come in threes.

One thing I noticed about Jacob and these three blessings is that they didn’t easily sink in. He wasn’t any happier after getting them, at least the first two, and they didn’t change his circumstances for the better, at least not in the short term.

I imagine he felt guilty and distracted when he got the first blessing. After all, he had just manipulated his blind father and he knew how angry Esau could get.

The second blessing, spoken over him by his father as Jacob was leaving home, may have sounded more like a cruel joke than a blessing, seeing as how everything was going exactly the opposite to what his father was saying.

It was finally when he saw, in his dream, the angels ascending and descending to heaven and heard words delivered in the voice of God Himself, complete with the beautiful promise, “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go…”  that Jacob realized he was blessed, and could go forward with a light heart (Genesis 28:15).

I think I’m often like Jacob when it comes to God’s gifts. Sometimes it’s circumstances, worries, preoccupations, even guilt if I’ve done some manipulating, that keep me from seeing them. At other times, those supposed-to-be blessings don’t seem like blessings at all but their opposite. What will it take to make me see God’s gifts, His blessings, that are all around me, the greatest of which is His constant presence (Psalm 139:17,18)?

Isaac blesses Jacob - by

Isaac blesses Jacob – by Gerrit Willemsz Horst

A tale of three blessings

Once upon a time there were three blessings.

First Blessing came to Prince as he, sweating under goat skins and drowning in his brother’s clothes, knelt before his blind father. Despite bequeathing him earthy richness, grain, wine, and a promise of the servitude of nations, the stench in the tent of goat stew and lies kept Prince from hearing a single word.  Read the rest on the Toward Christmas blog…

Join us each week at Spiritual Journey Thursday

Join us each week for Spiritual Journey Thursday

This post is part of Spiritual Journey Thursday hosted by Holly Mueller at her blog Reading, Teaching, Learning.