“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” II Corinthians 9:8
Walking beachside with three of the grandkids visiting this week, we happened upon a blessing tree in someone’s yard, and paused to read all the carefully crafted ornaments. We decided to come home and adapt the idea for ourselves, inspired by the hopefulness of the whole thing.
First, we made a sign to put up by the road so that walkers could see it. “The Blessing Tree is a place to share your hopes, dreams and prayers. Beckham, who’s eight, drew a picture of the tree, Adeline, at ten, managed the glue and the scissors, sprinkling glow-in-the-dark green leaves in the branches. Then the four of us, including three-year-old Lachlan and five-year-old Dashiell, hunkered down on the side porch with markers, sparkles, wooden ornaments and glue. We painted designs on the front and wrote prayers on the back.
While they worked, I asked them what examples of blessings we might write on our ornaments, and Dash suggested we start with the fruits of the spirit. He started naming them: gentleness, faithfulness, joy, love, peace and self-control. The others chimed in, adding generosity, goodness and kindness.
We made a blessing box, with extra markers and ornaments for those walking by to add to the tree, with these instructions:
1. Open the wishing well.
2. Select and ornament.
3. Write your message.
4. Hang it on the tree.
We waited until after last night’s storm to put up a tree by the side of the road. Plenty of branches blew down to gift us with one to set it sand to receive their created gifts. In addition to the blessings written by the big kids on the backs of their ornaments, the youngest wanted prayers.
“Write this Nana”, Lachlan commanded. “God, be with the policemen, and the firefighters and the ambulance drivers, and keep them safe,” he said. “Don’t forget the ambulance drivers.” This same child recently had a melt-down at dinner when it was somebody else’s turn for evening prayers. He loves to share the blessing of the food, so when his Dad wanted a turn, he flung himself to the floor crying “Why won’t you let me pray?”
The grandchildren head northward tomorrow with their parents, our son and daughter-in-law. While they were with us, they blessed us richly and left us with hope. Our generation may squabble and war against each other, and run one another into the ground. Yet as long as a generation comes up under us who receive God’s blessings, bless one another, and love to pray, there’s hope for humanity after all.
Prayer: God, you long ago reminded us that a little child shall lead us. Give us eyes to see your blessings as they see, that we might bless as you bless. Amen
God’s grace, mercy and peace,
Rev. Dr. Anna V. Copeland
Senior Minister, The Community Church of Vero Beach, Florida