The LORD spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the Israelites: You shall say to them,
The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.”

I am pretty sure if I looked back to see what I had said about this passage the last time it came up in the cycle of scripture (and yes, I am pretty sure it has come up before), I would find I talked about knowing who is blessing you. Not that I imagine there have been a plethora of different people extending a powerful and long-lasting blessing to us.

Moses wanted to make sure that Aaron and his sons were clear about from Whom the blessing came. That it was the same Deity who brought them out of Egypt. And that they knew hence forth they belonged to Yahweh.

“So they shall put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.” (Verse 27)

In some ways, as I think about it, it seems that the Hebrews who became the Israelites and had this name put upon them did not have a clear concept of who the Divine was. Think of all of the attributes that they ascribed to the Naming One. However, as time went on the named Israelites seemed to “strayed” away from the position the Lord’s called and chosen people. I use the derivation “ancient called and chosen people” to pinpoint the believers who had walked in the Way of the Yahweh; the other I use without the modifier “ancient” is to denote those who lived and believed in more current times. The point I want to make is that it was only with the coming of Jesus at his birth that the Jews learned what Yahweh was really like. I mean, as a personal and intimate God.

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:15 – 19)

I remember when I gave birth to my three children, I did not want to be separated from them. I always opted for room-in for them. I had my own hopes and dreams for them; as they grew and I discerned what their personalities were like, in my own mind I modified those hopes and dreams; but always with the goal that find joy, happiness, and contentment in life. If I had been told that what happened to Jesus would happen to one of my children – I think I would do a whole lot more than just “ponder.” In fact, as I think about it, I think the gospel writers drastically underestimated Mary’s thought process as being just “pondering”!

“The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” (Verses 20 – 21)

It is part of a strong tradition to think about the New Year and plan what one wants to accomplish in the New Year. In the past I tried to make New Year’s resolutions; I didn’t have much success. First, it is hard to change an ingrained habit, and that is often what one asks of one’s self. And sadly I would forget what I wanted to change, precisely – other than “doing better”. Second, it is hard to know what the New Year will bring; 2020 is an excellent example! So maybe “doing better” is the best goal to cover all contingencies. And if, beloved reader, we want to get more specific than that, how about just “doing better” in our relationship with the Divine? And “do better” in our relationships to others, modeling that relationship on how the Divine treats humanity. Of course, I suppose, that depends on how you feel the Divine treats humanity. If in doubt, remember the Lord God Creator gave us Jesus to redeem and save us!! Let me remind you, beloved reader.

O LORD, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?
Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor.
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8)

A favored passage at the beginning of the New Year comes from Ecclesiastes 3:1,

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:”

I hope and pray that you will designate the coming year as the season and time to re-invest yourself in you beliefs and faith tradition. And that you will give outward evidence of this inward resolution! Shalom & Selah!

Postscript: In reviewing this post I realized my fingers did not complete and clarify my thoughts. Thus the change in the comments on Verse 27.