“Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come near and kiss me, my son” (Genesis 27:26 NRSV).
Growing up with divorced parents, I saw my dad just a couple of times a year. I lived in Kansas and he lived in California. However, the distance between us would make one think that we weren’t that close. But actually, we were. I think the reason for that was two-fold: we both enjoyed great conversation when we visited and he was affectionate. My dad understood the value of a hug and words that conveyed approval. He often put his hands on my shoulders when standing in line, posing together for a picture, or when introducing me to his friends or coworkers. And I always got a big embrace when he met me at the airport or when he was sending me back home. Even though my parents were divorced, his appropriate and meaningful touch is one of my best reflections as a child of divorce.
In this on-going series about the blessing, we’ll learn the first of five elements that make up the blessing. Today, we will look at the first one: Meaningful and Appropriate Touch.
The bible says in Genesis 27:26 “Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come near and kiss me, my son” (NRSV). The act of physically touching someone to bestow the family blessing was common and a vital aspect of the ancient Hebrew culture.
God didn’t give us hands just for working, but to also show meaningful approval, acceptance and love to our children. Jesus knew the importance of touch. He used His touch to heal people. And He also knew who needed His touch the most–the outcasts of society. They were deprived of touch. Moved by compassion, Jesus sought out these untouchables and did the unthinkable. He reached out his hands and touched them. Just ponder on that for a moment. Think about how long it may have been for some of the lepers to feel someone’s touch, let alone the touch of Jesus. Just think how it made them feel to know that someone cared, accepted and approved of them– simply from Jesus’ loving touch.
Then there was the children…children were often treated as second-class citizens in Jesus’ day, but Jesus didn’t view them with that perspective. “Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me’”(Mark 9:36-37 NRSV).
We all need meaningful touch in our lives and when we don’t get it, we suffer. Children with parents who show very little affection through meaningful and appropriate touch are at a much greater risk of going through life longing for that embrace.
Are you giving this vital component to your children? Did you receive appropriate and meaningful touch in your early life? If not, in what way did it impact your life? As always, I’m eager to hear your story in the comment section below.
Here’s what I’ve got for you on Monday. We’ll take a look at the second element of the blessing. Anyone want to guess what it is? Don’t forget to download my bonus item. My 15-Day Devotional that lets you follow along in my book chapter by chapter. Just enter your name and email in the box at the top right.