I get to bless my two month old son today. I consider blessing babies to be an incredible privilege and one of my favorite traditions in the Church. Christmas time, along with the upcoming blessing, had me thinking about the Savior’s birth. The nativity as told in Luke 2 and the story of the wise men in Matthew 2 get most of the attention this time of year, but Luke 2 also contains what might be seen as a sort of baby blessing for the baby Jesus. Luke 2:23-27 tells of Simeon, a “devout” man with the Holy Ghost upon him, had received personal revelation that he would live to see the Christ. He encounters Mary, Joseph, and Jesus at the temple and takes up the baby in his arms praying, “Lord, now lettest thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.”
It’s short, simple, and beautiful. Here is salvation. The light of the world, the Glory of Israel. Simeon blessed Christ to fulfill his foreordained role in Heavenly Father’s plan. I hope I can do the same for my son. As explained in the lds.org Gospel Topic entry for foreordination,
“In the premortal spirit world, God appointed certain spirits to fulfill specific missions during their mortal lives... Jesus Christ was foreordained to carry out the Atonement, becoming “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” (Revelation 13:8; see also 1 Peter 1:19-21).
The doctrine of foreordination applies to all members of the Church, not just to the Savior and His prophets. Before the creation of the earth, faithful women were given certain responsibilities and faithful men were foreordained to certain priesthood duties. As people prove themselves worthy, they will be given opportunities to fulfill the assignments they then received."
Doctrine and Covenants 20:70 explains, "Every member of the church of Christ having children is to bring them unto the elders before the church, who are to lay their hands upon them in the name of Jesus Christ, and bless them in his name.”
As I see it, the baby blessing echoes the blessing (I’d like to think) given by God before coming to earth, and serves as a foreshadowing of the Patriarchal blessing. In that light, a father’s opportunity to speak for the Lord on behalf of their child must be one of if not the most profound specific acts of priesthood duty in their child’s life, next to the confirmation after baptism, priesthood ordinations, and other father’s blessings. I love it. I’m grateful and humbled to do it. I hope I am worthy to speak on behalf of the Lord for the blessing of my son.