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and a Blessing
He took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them. [Mark 10: 16]
Inspire family members to become involved in the naming and blessing of your baby.
FOR THE PARENT
One of the parents should conduct this home evening. The other parent could hold the new baby so that all the family can see their new brother or sister.
Have a sheet of paper and a pencil or a chalkboard and some chalk.
SUGGESTED HYMN AND SONG
"Love At Home" [Hymns, no. 294].
"A Happy Family" [The Childrens Songbook, p. 198].
"The Priesthood Is Restored" [The Childrens Songbook, p. 89].
The Meaning of Your Name
Discuss with your family the meaning of each of their names if you know it. Discuss with them also why you gave them their names.
Blessing the Little Children
Explain that the ordinance of giving a name and a blessing is a sacred and happy experience for the family.
Have someone read the accounts in Luke 1:5-14, 26-33, of how John the Baptist and Jesus received their names. Point out that these verses tell us the importance of a name for a new baby.
Show your family the picture of a baby being blessed, which is included in the lesson, and read Mark 10:16.
- In what way is the blessing of this baby like the blessing that Jesus gave to the little children?
Express the happiness that the new baby has brought to you and the joy you feel about blessing him or her.
Priesthood Authority for Blessings
Explain that when Christ blessed the little children, he did it with authority from our Heavenly Father. We have the same authority in the Church today.
- What is this authority called? (The Melchizedek Priesthood.)
- When is the baby usually blessed and given a name? (During fast meeting.)
- As the priesthood bearers stand in a circle holding the baby, which one gives the blessing to the baby? (Generally the father, if he holds the Melchizedek Priesthood and is worthy; or, if he does not hold the priesthood, someone whom he asks.)
Help the family understand what a great privilege it is for this new baby to be held and given a blessing by someone who holds the priesthood. This means that the blessing given to this new brother or sister is recognized by God.
- When are we going to have our baby blessed and given a name?
Making the Baby a Member of Record in the Church
You may want to have all the children show their certificates of blessing if they have them.
Mention that the certificate of blessing is an official Church record and will be properly filled out and signed by the ward clerk and the bishop. The ward clerk will, at the time he fills out the certificate of blessing, make up a membership record card with the name of the baby, date of birth, date of blessing, name of the one who blessed the baby, names of mother and father, and other information. Your new baby will then be on the official membership records of the Church. Now that family members have discussed the reasons for blessing and naming the baby, have them prepare for the event by discussing the following plans for your new baby:
- What relatives should be invited to come to the blessing?
- Who should be in the circle?
- Who will invite the home teachers to be in the circle also?
- What clothes will the baby wear?
- Who will bless the baby?
Conclude by asking each family member to comment on how he feels about the baby and what the chosen name means to him.
ADAPTING FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN
Study carefully the material given, and use what you think will be meaningful to your children.
Tell a story about the time each child was given a name and a blessing. You might keep secret the name of the child you are talking about and let the children guess who the child is. If you have a picture of each child when he was very young, show the picture after telling the story. A child loves to hear about what happened to him when he was a baby.
You may also want to tell the following story:
A Name and a Blessing
At last, Rachel and Stephanie had a new baby brother. A boy! He had a round, pink face; two big, blue eyes; two little hands; and two wiggly feet. But he didn't have a name. What would baby's name be?
"We'll discuss it in our home evening," said father.
And they did. Father showed the little girls a picture of a baby being blessed in fast meeting and explained about how the father was giving the baby a name and a blessing.
Father said, "Next Sunday will be a special day for us. That's the day our baby will be given a name and a blessing. Let's decide on a name for him."
Rachel mentioned all the boys' names she liked. Stephanie gave all the boys' names she liked. Mother and father both suggested names they liked.
Then mother said, "We decided on a boy's name for a baby five years ago, only that baby was a girl."
"That's right," said father. "If either of you had been a boy, your name would have been Michael."
"Michael," repeated Rachel and Stephanie.
"I still like it. It's a good name," said mother.
"Yes," said father, "Michael is a good name."
Then mother said, "But it is rather nice for the first boy to carry his father's name, isn't it?"
"Michael Christopher?" asked father.
Rachel and Stephanie agreed, "Let's name our baby Michael Christopher."
"Agreed," said father.
When Sunday came, Rachel and Stephanie helped mother get the baby ready to take to fast meeting. Rachel brought the baby's diapers and pretty blue knit suit while mother bathed him. Stephanie put the baby's tiny, white socks on his wiggly feet.
When they were all ready to go, father said, "Let's have family prayer before we leave."
They all knelt around the baby's crib, and father thanked Heavenly Father for their baby and asked him to bless the family that all would go well on this important day.
When they arrived at the meetinghouse, grandparents, uncles and aunts, and even cousins were already there. They had come for this special occasion.
In the meeting, Rachel and Stephanie sat very still during the song and prayer. Then they heard the bishop say that their baby would be blessed. Their eyes opened wide as father took the baby from mother's arms and walked to the front of the chapel. Both grandfathers and two uncles and their home teacher went up, too. Then the bishop came over and stood with the group.
Rachel and Stephanie bowed their heads and closed their eyes as father began to speak. Everyone bowed their heads and closed their eyes.
Rachel and Stephanie heard father thank Heavenly Father for the baby and say that his name would be Michael Christopher. Then he blessed Michael. When he finished, Rachel and Stephanie and everyone said, "Amen."
Father held Michael up so that everyone could see him. Rachel and Stephanie were so proud they could hardly sit still.
When father brought the baby back and laid him in mother's arms, Rachel and Stephanie reached over and touched him. "Michael," they whispered.
Now the baby had a name, a beautiful name. And they knew Heavenly Father would bless him.
(See Daily Living home page; Family Home Evening home page; Family Home Evening Lessons home page)
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